Florida investigating Catholic priest sex abuse, creates new tipline

State launches tipline for people to report accusations of priest abuse. (CNN Newsource)

Florida is taking new steps to get people to come forward to report sex abuse by priests.

Attorney General Pam Bondi launched an online portal where people can submit tips about possible sex abuse by Catholic priests in Florida.

“Any priest that would exploit a position of power and trust to abuse a child is a disgrace to the church and a threat to society,” said Attorney General Bondi.

The website is part of a statewide investigation into all seven Catholic dioceses in Florida. According to the Associated Press, at least 15 people have come forward with claims. The state is looking for more people to come forward.

Information submitted to the website will be kept confidential, Bondi said.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is also part of the probe to make sure allegations of abuse are investigated.

Two months ago, a grand jury in Pennsylvania released a report which named more than 300 priests who faced credible accusations of sexual abuse from more than 1,000 children. Those names included Monsignor Thomas Benestad of Boca Raton. A man claimed Benestad sexually abused him as a child between 1981 and 1983. Benestad denied the accusations through a letter from his attorney.

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