Earlier this month, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced she was pulling her state out of a bunch of right-wing lawsuits that attempted to eradicate church/state separation and reproductive freedom. She didn’t want to waste taxpayer money or her own resources on lawsuits that didn’t deserve support.
Now we know what she is working on, and you can tell her priorities are in the right place. In addition to pursuing cases involving gymnastics coach and sex abuser Larry Nassar, her office will also be investigating the Catholic Church.
Nessel said in a press conference that looking into child sex abuse in the state’s seven dioceses could uncover more than 1,000 victims over several decades. To that end, she has asked the dioceses to stop investigating themselves — since they can’t be trusted — and leave that job to her office.
“Victims may believe they cannot or should not report abuse to us because the church is going to handle it. Simply put, that’s just not true. If you signed [a non-disclosure agreement], you still have a right and I would say a responsibility to speak to law enforcement authorities,” said Nessel, who said victims should ask to see investigators’ “badge and not their rosary.” She said there may be more than 1,000 victims in Michigan and that the breadth of the probe will help unearth cover-ups in which accused priests were moved to other parishes.
The investigation began last summer and it could last two years.
Church officials didn’t publicly oppose her comments, but they did take issue with her line about looking for a badge and not a rosary. Because that’s the real concern here…
Archdiocese of Detroit public affairs director Ned McGrath said it’s “troubling” that Nessel used the rosary “as a punchline. Here’s hoping future statements show no additional disrespect.”
Respect should be earned. The Catholic Church lost that battle a long time ago. They deserve to be mocked, maligned, and shunned. If anything, Nessel was being polite, saying that Church leaders have a long-enough rap sheet that victims should come to her office with their stories instead of assuming some bishop is going to handle it properly.
The rosary wasn’t a punchline. It was a warning.
Nessel’s office has set up a website for victims to submit information about Catholic priests who abused them so her staff can follow up and look into the stories. She is among 14 attorneys general to investigate the Catholic Church since the bombshell report issued by a Pennsylvania grand jury last summer.
(Screenshot via YouTube. Thanks to Brian for the link)