LANSING, Mich – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Thursday she's moving forward on several major cases.
It's highly unusual for an attorney general to comment on ongoing investigations, but Nessel may have felt obligated to go public with where things stood on several fronts.
First and foremost, were the statewide search warrants served on all seven Michigan Catholic dioceses in October.
Nessell believes there could be as many as 1,000 victims. Hundreds of thousands of documents are being reviewed by authorities.
Since 2002, the Archdiocese of Detroit has not entered into any nondisclosure agreements, unless specifically requested by a survivor of abuse, as required by the Catholic Church.
The archdiocese does not enforce any nondisclosure agreements signed prior to 2002.
The Archdiocese of Detroit has been asked by the attorney general's office to stop its internal review process. These internal investigations are required under church law, and their purpose is to restrict or remove from ministry anyone who has committed sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult.
Victims are encouraged to report any suspected abuse to law enforcement officers rather than church officials on the state’s clergy abuse hotline at 844-324-3374 or online at www.michigan.gov/clergyabuse.
Nessel also challenged the dioceses to set up a fund for victims to be administered by the Attorney General’s office so that victims may get the help needed for the trauma they experienced.
"These investigations are complex and complicated, but we are committed to uncovering the truth and seeking justice for all the victims,” stated Col. Joseph Gasper, director of the Michigan State Police. “We take all leads and tips seriously, and I encourage anyone with information about these cases to contact law enforcement directly."
Clergy abuse victims can call the clergy abuse hotline at 844-324-3374.