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Conflict of Interest Decried As Sex Abuse Allegations Investigated In Archdiocese Of Oklahoma City

Following a renewed focus on rampant sexual abuse by Catholic priests across the country, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City announced last year it would investigate its own clergy, promising swift “transparency and accountability.” But while numerous other dioceses across the nation called on law enforcement to lead similar investigations, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City turned its investigation over to McAfee and Taft, an Oklahoma City-based law firm that has worked with the church for nearly 15 years.

In August 2018, when the diocese announced the investigation, it promised a report by November. The due date was postponed multiple times. In June, the diocese announced it no longer had an expected release date.

“McAfee & Taft represents the interests of the Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. This relationship is the definition of conflict of interest,” Nick Yascavage, Oklahoma City coordinator of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said in a statement. “The public is relying on an organization that has harbored and enabled sexual predators to investigate crimes they themselves have purposely hidden for decades. It saddens me to see that the Oklahoma State Attorney General’s Office does not recognize the seriousness of these crimes which have been and are currently being committed against the innocent children of Oklahoma. It is important enough to warrant an official investigation.”

Read more at the Oklahoman