TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (The News Service of Florida) - Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced Thursday that her office has launched a statewide-probe into sexual abuse by Catholic priests.
Bondi has set up a tip-site to allow victims and anyone with information about priest abuse to report what they know.
She says it is too early to know how many people may have been abused...
The Florida Council Against Sexual Violence Executive Director, Jennifer Dritt, says less than 20 percent of assault cases are ever reported and the number is even lower among men.
"It's hard to come forward and say 'this is what's happened to me' and to feel that shame, but healing happens every day," said Dritt. "It's possible to heal, whether you are 75 or 13. Life can be better."
Florida's seven Catholic dioceses have been talking with the statewide prosecutor and are cooperating with the investigation.
"We recognize that there are still people who suffer the pain of abuse," said Michael Sheedy, Executive Director of Florida Catholic Conference. "We do want to do everything that we can to facilitate their reconciliation and their healing. The dioceses are very involved in that process as well."
Several bishops issued statements expressing support for the attorney general's inquiry.
Bondi says her office is currently issuing subpoenas and conducting interviews.
Tips about past abuse can be reported at MyFloridaLegal.com/StopAbuse.
Victims currently experiencing abuse should call 911.