ATLANTA, GA – Attorney General Chris Carr today released the following statement concerning the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia’s third-party review of records of suspected child abuse in the Catholic Church in Georgia.
“As Attorney General of Georgia and a Roman Catholic myself, I remain concerned and angered by reports of abuse in the Catholic Church,” said Attorney General Carr. “Georgians – Catholic and Non-Catholic alike – need to be certain that reports of abuse anywhere and by anyone are taken seriously and handled properly.”
“Under Georgia law, such crimes fall primarily under the jurisdiction of local District Attorneys for prosecution,” explained Carr. “As such, I commend the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council for conducting this third party, independent review. I also commend the leadership of the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Diocese of Savannah for their stated support for this review and look forward to their continued openness, transparency and cooperation.”
“Victims must be heard and supported, and those who abuse children or who cover up such acts must finally be held accountable,” said Carr. “Only then can justice be done. Only then can victims heal. And only then can the cloud of suspicion be lifted for those who have done nothing wrong.”
On January 31, 2019, the Attorney General Carr facilitated a meeting between: Peter J. Skandalakis, Executive Director Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia; Perry J. McGuire and Stephen M. Forte, attorneys for the Archdiocese of Atlanta; and Francis J. Mulcahy, Executive Director of the Georgia Catholic Conference.
During this meeting, with the consent and cooperation of the Archbishop of Atlanta and the Bishop of Savannah, the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Diocese of Savannah expressed a willingness to permit the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council to conduct a third party review of any records, files, documents and reports concerning suspected child abuse in the possession of the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Diocese of Savannah.
As a result of that meeting, Peter J. Skandalakis of the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council will lead a file review and all parties have agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding concerning that process. This is an independent evaluation by PAC, the Archdiocese of Atlanta and Diocese of Savannah will have no oversight but have agreed to full cooperation.
Any new criminal claims that may surface during the review will be directed to the appropriate District Attorney. A report will be issued upon conclusion of the review by Peter J. Skandalakis.
About the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia (PAC)
Established in 1975, the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia (PAC) is the overarching judicial branch government agency supporting Georgia prosecutors and their staff, which includes 49 District Attorney Offices (primarily Felony cases) and 65 Solicitor-General Offices (only Misdemeanor cases). For more information visit the PAC website: www.pacga.org.