Senate Dem Leader on AG’s decision regarding clergy sex abuse

On May 22, Senate Democratic Leader Janet Petersen joined survivors of childhood sexual abuse in calling for extending Iowa’s criminal and civil statutes of limitations. Iowa should be the safest place in the country to raise a child. Instead, Iowa is tied with Ohio for having the worst civil and criminal statute of limitations laws in the country for child sexual abuse, according to ChildUSA. We must work in a bipartisan way to create a pathway to justice for survivors, ensure accountability for predators, and make our communities safer.

June 3, 2019

Statement by Senate Democratic Leader Janet Petersen on Iowa Attorney General’s decision by regarding clergy sexual abuse in Iowa

“Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller has taken two steps in the right direction today by requesting records on clergy abuse from Catholic dioceses in Davenport, Des Moines, Dubuque and Sioux City; and by establishing a hotline — 855-620-7000 — for survivors to call and report abuse.

“I am grateful for the many survivors of child sex abuse who have stepped forward to tell their stories and to advocate for justice. 

“It’s important that we continue to listen to survivors to fix Iowa’s laws.  Survivors of child sex abuse deserve a pathway to justice.  Iowans, and our children especially, will be safer when we know the truth about sex offenders among us and have a better understanding of how to prevent child sex abuse.

“While the Attorney General’s request of the Catholic dioceses was limited only to clergy, I am hopeful he will expand the scope of the investigation to include any sex abuse reported in their dioceses.  I am also hopeful additional investigations will ensue based on information uncovered through the hotline.

“The Legislature must work next session to pass meaningful legislation to remove Iowa’s criminal and civil statute of limitations and give adult survivors a five-year period to seek justice. I will also support legislation to give the Attorney General expanded powers to go after sexual predators and organizations that cover up the crime.”

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NOTE: For more information about the newly established hotline — 855-620-7000 — for survivors to report abuse, please visit this website:

Trained advocates will be available to gather information from survivors.

An investigator will review the reports and may seek additional information. The identities of survivors will remain confidential.