Amid criticism, AG Kaul calls his actions on Wisconsin clergy sex abuse a “review” not an investigation

Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 10:31 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Wisconsin’s attorney general is responding to Action 2 News after receiving criticism from an organization that represents victims of church sexual abuse.

The group Nate’s Mission criticized Attorney General Josh Kaul last month for what it thought was an investigation the AG launched last year into the state’s five archdioceses and religious orders.

But Kaul is clarifying telling Action 2 News what he is doing is a review of allegations.

“The process that we’re engaging right now is the same process that we’ve been engaging in since this review started, and that is, we’re encouraging people across the state of Wisconsin who have any information on clergy and faith leader abuse to report that,” Kaul said.

Kaul announced last year in April his plans to look over any allegations of sexual abuse that may have been committed by clergy and staff at Wisconsin’s catholic dioceses.

He tells Action 2 News there have been 200 reports so far into his office, which have led to at least two prosecutions.

Although he says it’s a review, Kaul labeled the actions his office is taking an investigation last year at two different press conferences.

On April 27, 2021, he said, “It’s our hope that that the dioceses and the religious orders will cooperate with this investigation.”

Then on August 4, 2021, Kaul said, “As we talked about when we announced this investigation, there has never been a statewide independent investigation of the issue of clergy and faith leader abuse in Wisconsin.”

Kaul told Action 2 News his office is focused on following the facts.

“What I want to be clear about is that politics plays no role in this whatsoever. We’ve been clear since the start that we’re going to follow the facts where they lead,” Kaul said.

Nate’s Mission criticized Kaul in a video they emailed out last month. They shared emails and played phone recordings they had with his staff.

“We felt pretty strongly that survivors ultimately deserved to know what they had promised us in the lead up to the announcement of this investigation,” Sarah Pearson, deputy director of Nate’s Mission, said.

“We have a responsibility and obligation to the victim’s in this state who have been sexually assaulted and raped,’ Peter Isley, director of Nate’s Mission, said.

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The attorney general’s office is encouraging anyone with tips of clergy abuse to call 1-877-222-2620.

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