Attorney General Ashley Moody News Release

Statement from Statewide Prosecutor on the Closing of the Catholic Church Investigation

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—The Office of Statewide Prosecution today released the following statement on the conclusion of the investigation regarding the Catholic Church and the alleged sexual abuse by Catholic priests:

Statewide Prosecutor Nicholas B. Cox said, “In 2018, the Office of Statewide Prosecution began its own investigation into the Catholic Church after reviewing a Grand Jury Report from Pennsylvania about sexual abuse by Catholic priests. We set up a tip line and, with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, investigated each and every allegation of sexual abuse we received. After a thorough investigation of every tip and every allegation in the church’s file, the Office of Statewide Prosecution found no evidence of ongoing, unreported, current sexual abuse of minors by church priests in Florida. We also conducted a comprehensive, historical review of allegations of sexual abuse against priests in Florida, and based on the facts of those allegations and the law, we are unable to prosecute any additional priests or church officials because the then-existing statute of limitations bars such prosecution and/or the alleged abuser is no longer alive.

“As the Statewide Prosecutor, I treat such allegations extremely seriously. If any additional allegation is brought forward, I, and this office’s prosecutors, stand ready to investigate and prosecute any such allegations to the fullest extent possible under Florida law.”

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