The Virginia attorney general announced Wednesday that his office has begun investigating the possibility of clerical sexual abuse and cover-up in the state’s two Catholic dioceses, according to a report from The Washington Post. The AG’s statement notes that the probe was inspired by Pennsylvania’s damning grand-jury report, which accused over 300 predator priests of abusing more than 1,000 victims. “It made me sick to see the extent of the damage done, the efforts to cover it up, and the complicity and enabling that went on by powerful people who should have known better and should have done more to protect vulnerable children,” Attorney General Mark Herring said in the statement. “We shouldn’t assume the behavior and the problems are limited just to Pennsylvania or to one diocese. If there has been abuse or coverup in Virginia like there was in Pennsylvania I want to know about it, I want to root it out, and I want to help survivors get justice and get on a path to healing.”
The office has also established a hotline and a website for victims to report abuse. This announcement comes just a day after the D.C. Attorney General made a similar announcement, and makes Virginia the 13th state this year to launch a probe into clerical sexual abuse.