Pam Bondi investigating allegations of sexual abuse by Florida priests

Florida has launched a statewide criminal investigation into sexual abuse by Catholic priests and is asking past victims to share information with legal authorities.

TAMPA, Fla. — Florida has launched a statewide criminal investigation into sexual abuse by Catholic priests and is asking past victims to share information with legal authorities.

Attorney General Pam Bondi said Thursday her office has set up a website that will allow people to report incidents of past sexual abuse.

"Even if you live in another state now. Even if years have past. We want to hear from you," Bondi said.

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At least 15 victims of abuse have already come forward to state authorities, Bondi said.

Bondi said her office has already talked to the seven bishops who oversee Roman Catholic dioceses in the state. She also said that authorities are preparing to issue subpoenas in the case.


The investigation comes in the wake of a Pennsylvania grand jury said more than 1,000 children have been molested there since the 1940s.

Bondi stressed that if someone is being abused currently they need to call 911.

"We love the Catholic religion, the Catholic Church, we love youth organizations and schools, but abuse is abuse,"  Bondi said.

Watch below: Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi's full news conference

The Associated Press contributed to this report.