ATLANTA - Georgia joins a growing list of states actively soliciting new allegations of abuse in the Catholic Church.
Channel 2 Action News has learned a new investigation has been launched to uncover allegations of child sexual abuse by priests or other leaders in the church.
“Abuse by any adult of any child is unacceptable,” Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said in an exclusive interview with Channel 2's Aaron Diamant.
Carr said he’s spent the last several months spearheading efforts to launch the statewide investigation.
“So long as the Church is open and transparent, it will say to victims, 'We appreciate you, your story matters, you have people that have your back,' and I think it will ultimately lead to healing,” Carr said.
Leaders at the archdiocese, Carr's office and the state agency tapped to run the investigation have already agreed to how the process will work.
Carr explained the Prosecuting Attorneys' Council of Georgia will run the investigation and confirmed both the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Diocese of Savannah are on board.
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In November, the Archdiocese of Atlanta released a list of 15 priests, deacons and seminarians in Georgia named by Archbishop Wilton Gregory as credibly accused of sexually abusing children.
Nearly half have died, while the rest were removed from ministry or convicted.
In an emailed statement, Gregory wrote:
“I offered our full support and cooperation to Attorney General Chris Carr. I reiterate my genuine concern for all who have been hurt directly or indirectly by abuse of any kind by anyone and I renew my commitment to healing, transparency, and trust.”
“The goal has to be justice being done," Carr said.
Carr said the review will take as long as necessary.
In the meantime, he's urging any survivors who haven't yet come forward to do so.
Any new cases the statewide investigation uncovers will be referred to local law enforcement agencies or district attorneys.
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