Headlines for Saturday, January 7, 2023
KBI Report Documents Clergy Abuse in Kansas
TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS/AP) - A Kansas Bureau of Investigation report released late Friday documents a chronic pattern of sexual abuse by Catholic priests in the state, and the church's history of protecting its clergy. The reports released by the state attorney general's office said dioceses across the state frequently failed to follow church policies regarding allegations of sexual abuse of Catholic clergy. The KBI says its agents interviewed 137 victims of abuse and identified 188 clergy members suspected of various criminal acts. The task force that conducted the overview said efforts to prosecute cases were frustrated by actions of the Church, by expiring statutes of limitations, and the deaths of both alleged abusers and their victims.
The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas released a statement Saturday morning thanking the attorney general and the KBI for their work. Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann said he joined bishops across the state “in offering his deepest apologies to the victims, their families, the faithful of the church, and the Kansas Catholic community at large."
SCOKAN Rules on Open Records Suit
TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - Open government advocates are lauding an opinion by the Kansas Supreme Court surrounding open records law. The court ruled Friday that government agencies must provide access to public records in the same format those records are maintained. That means agencies can't, for example, print out a screenshot of an Excel spreadsheet, which could make it harder for journalists and others to use that information. Max Kautsch with the Kansas Coalition for Open Government said the decision will help make Kansas government more transparent.
Warning about Aquifer's Decline Sets Up Big Fight in Kansas
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP/KPR) - Kansas water experts are sounding an alarm decades in the making: farmers and ranchers in western Kansas must stop pumping so much water out of the vast Ogallala Aquifer. Experts warn that if they don't, they risk the economic collapse of a region important to the nation's food supply. That warning is setting up a big and messy fight for the annual session of the Kansas legislature, which begins Monday. The Kansas Geological Survey has a team in western Kansas this week, measuring water well depths for updated information.
Kansas to Net $45 Million from Opioid Settlements
TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - New settlements with opioid manufacturers will bring more than $45 million to Kansas. Drugmaker Teva will pay Kansas over $28 million and will stop promoting and lobbying for its opioid products. Another company, Allegan, will pay the state nearly $17 million and will exit the opioid market entirely. The payments are the latest in more than $340 million the state has recouped from settlements related to the opioid epidemic. The Kansas Attorney General's office said the money will help fund treatment services for those struggling with substance use disorder. New data shows overdose deaths involving opioids in Kansas nearly doubled between 2020 and 2021.