Dayton, county attorneys to consider clergy abuse investigation

Gov. Mark Dayton is responding to a recent request that he launch a large-scale, grand-jury investigation into clergy sexual abuse.

Dayton said Friday that he is planning a meeting later this month with several county attorneys to discuss the matter and possible ways to proceed.

Jeff Anderson, the attorney who has filed numerous lawsuits against the Catholic church over sexual abuse, called on Dayton last month to initiate such an investigation. Anderson wants Dayton to follow the approach taken in Pennsylvania.

After considering the request for several weeks, Dayton said he believes he has a responsibility to move forward.

“My responsibility is to make that determination, work with the attorney general to see what the proper steps are,” Dayton said. “But it starts with the county attorneys, which is why we’re working with them first.”

Dayton said the meeting will include county attorneys from all of Minnesota’s Catholic dioceses outside of the Twin Cities.

The governor’s spokeswoman said that a date for the meeting has not yet been set.

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