On October 22, 2018, the U.S. Attorney’s office for the District of Columbia released an announcement that a “hotline” had been created to serve survivors of child sexual abuse by clergy and other responsible members of religious organizations. The department’s action was apparently in response to public outcries for federal and state government leaders and agencies to finally take some effective action to track and investigate the ever-increasing numbers of crimes against children by clergy.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 22, 2018
U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia Launches Hotline for Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse by Clergy
WASHINGTON – The Superior Court Division’s Sex Offense and Domestic Violence Section and the Victim Witness Assistance Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia are launching a hotline and e-mail address for survivors to report child sexual abuse by clergy, U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu announced today.
Survivors of child sexual abuse by clergy who wish to share their experiences and/or those who have knowledge of such abuse are encouraged to report these incidents to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for potential criminal investigation and prosecution, as a part of the Office’s Superior Court Division intake process.
Survivors of child sexual abuse by a clergy member that took place in a house of worship, school, or other location in the District of Columbia can call the Clergy Abuse Reporting Line at 202-252-7008 or send an e-mail to USADC.ReportClergyAbuse@usdoj.gov (link sends e-mail). Survivors can access further information by visiting the following website: https://www.justice.gov/usao-dc/victim-witness-assistance/report-clergy-abuse
All reports will be reviewed and a team of experienced criminal investigators, prosecutors, and victim advocates from the Superior Court Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office will determine whether any criminal charges can be brought or victim services provided. The victim advocates, who are part of the Victim Witness Assistance Unit, are available to offer support and guidance to survivors who wish to report.
Depending on the nature of the report, some information may be referred to law enforcement or the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia.
Individuals in need of police assistance or wishing to report any other criminal activity or sexual assault or abuse should call 911.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office is deeply committed to the prosecution of those who commit sexual assaults in the District of Columbia, particularly those who commit such crimes against children. The Sex Offense and Domestic Violence Section in the Superior Court Division is a specialized unit staffed by highly trained and committed prosecutors who investigate and prosecute individuals who commit sexual assaults against children and adults in the District of Columbia, including abuse committed by individuals in a position of trust with the victim. The Victim Witness Assistance Unit provides comprehensive assistance to survivors of sexual abuse and their families. The Office’s victim advocates are highly trained professionals with specialized knowledge of the court system and experience with trauma resulting from sexual assault.