EXCLUSIVE: 89% of Rhode Islanders Believe AG Should Investigate Diocese Over Sexual Abuse

Saturday, October 13, 2018

 

View Larger +

Bishop Thomas Tobin

Attorney Generals around the country are launching investigations into the role of the Catholic Church as it relates to sexual abuse. So far, thirteen states have announced investigations — Rhode Island is not one of them.

An exclusive poll commissioned by GoLocal and conducted Harvard’s John Della Volpe found that 89 percent of Rhode Islanders believe the Rhode Island’s Attorney General should open an investigation. Just 7 percent oppose an investigation.

The question asks:

Attorney generals in several states have begun investigating sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy, opening investigations and issuing subpoenas for documents.

Do you favor or oppose the Rhode Island Attorney General opening an investigation into the Archdiocese of Providence on issues related to possible sexual abuse of children?

Net: Support    89%

Strongly Support    61%

Somewhat Support    27%

Net: Oppose    7%

Somewhat Oppose    5%

Strongly Oppose    3%

Don't Know    4%

 

Requests for comment from Diocese of Providence were not responded to by the Diocese's press relations office.

Similarly, Democratic candidate for Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha said, “I have no comment on the poll results.” 

View Larger +

Democratic AG candidate Peter Neronha

Neronha did say that, “If elected as Attorney General, I expect that the allegations of sexual abuse by clergy that have been publicly reported (and perhaps others) are something that I would be asked by victims to review, to the extent they are not already under review by the current Attorney General, which may or may not be the case.”

 

New York, Florida and 11 other States Have Launched Investigations

In September, the New York Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood announced a clergy abuse hotline and online complaint form through which victims and anyone with information can provide information – part of the Attorney General’s ongoing investigation into sexual abuse of children within the New York dioceses of the Catholic Church.

“I continue to encourage District Attorneys in all counties to work with the Attorney General’s Office to investigate allegations of sexual abuse in the Catholic Diocese. Past victims and current victims deserve to have their complaints aggressively investigated and those who have committed these horrific crimes must be held accountable,” said District Attorneys Association of New York President, Albany County District Attorney David Soares. “DAASNY is ready to collaborate with the Attorney General’s office to investigate complaints from victims and witnesses.”

In Florida, the Attorney General announced a statewide investigation. “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 Pam Bondi. SEE ANNOUNCEMENT HERE

“I am calling on victims and anyone with information about potential abuse to please report it to my office. Victim information will be kept confidential in accordance with state law.”   

Bondi stressed that the tip line and website are for reporting past abuse only, not current cases. The site is also not limited to the Catholic church. 

“FDLE will work with the Office of Statewide Prosecution and State Attorneys to independently review records of the Catholic Church to ensure any allegations have been reported and investigated,” said Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Rick Swearingen during the press announcement. “I thank Attorney General Bondi for her commitment in keeping Florida families safe.”

 

View Larger +

L to R: Tobin, Wuerl, and Pope

Bishop Tobin's Mentor - Cardinal Wuerl Forced to Resign for Ties to Sexual Abuse

On Friday morning it was announced that Bishop Thomas Tobin of the Diocese of Providence’s mentor — Cardinal Donald Wuerl — had resigned in a letter to Pope Francis.

“Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who in a matter of months went from a trusted papal ally who had largely managed to avoid controversy over a long career to a prominent symbol of what many Catholics have come to regard as an infuriatingly weak and defensive response by their church to clerical sex abuse,” reported the Washington Post.

In August, GoLocal reported the connections between Wuerl who once served as the Bishop of the Pittsburgh Diocese and Tobin who served as his Auxiliary Bishop — during a time in which massive sexual abuse was being committed by priests of the Diocese according to a Pennsylvania Grand Jury report.

In Pennsylvania, more than 1,000 were sexually abused by a reported 300 priests.  According to the grand jury report, 99 priests served the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Significant portions of the abuse took place under Wuerl’s and Tobin’s leadership.

"One thing bears repeating, in the interest of making my position abundantly clear and not subject to misinterpretation: in Pennsylvania, a grand jury report statute was essential in reaching the level of transparency achieved there, notwithstanding that few indictments were returned. Rhode Island law does not allow a grand jury to issue a similar report. I believe it should," said Neronha.

 

View Larger +

Harvard's John Della Volpe

The poll 

Sample: N=502 Rhode Island General Election Voters

Interviewing Period: October 5 – October 9, 2018

Directed by: John Della Volpe, Harvard University, SocialSphere, Inc.

SocialSphere -- founded by John Della Volpe, the Director of Polling at Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics. He is one of America's leading pollsters and appears on "Morning Joe" and "The Daily Show" with Trevor Noah to name a few. 

 

Related Slideshow: GoLocal Statewide Poll - FULL RESULTS, Conducted by Harvard’s Della Volpe Oct. 2018

Sponsor: GoLocal Prov

Sample: N=502 Rhode Island General Election Voters

Interviewing Period: October 5 – October 9, 2018

Directed by: John Della Volpe, Harvard University, SocialSphere, Inc.

Slideshow: responses are not in the order of the questionnaire 

View Larger +
Prev Next

Are you registered to vote in Rhode Island?

 

Yes.: 100%

View Larger +
Prev Next

What is your gender

Male.: 45%

Female: 55%

View Larger +
Prev Next

Where do you live?
 

Metro Providence: 28%

West Bay: 27%

Blackstone Valley: 22%

East Bay: 13%

South County: 10%

View Larger +
Prev Next

Could you please indicate your age?

18-24: 7%

25-34: 16%

35-44: 16%

45-54: 20%

55-64: 17%

65+: 25%

View Larger +
Prev Next

This question is about the total income of YOUR HOUSEHOLD for the PAST 12 MONTHS. Please include your income PLUS the income of all members living in your household (including cohabiting partners and armed forces members living at home).

50,000 or less: 32%

More $50,000 but less than $75,000: 18%

More $75,000 but less than $100,000: 16%

More $100,000 but less than $150,000: 14%

$150,000 or more: 11%

Don't know/Refused: 10%

View Larger +
Prev Next

What was the last grade you completed in school?

0-11: 1%

High school grad: 17%

Technical/Vocational school: 4%

Some college: 26%

College grad: 32%

Graduate degree: 21%

View Larger +
Prev Next

What particular ethnic group or nationality - such as English, French, Italian, Irish, Latino, Jewish, African American, and so forth - do you consider yourself a part of or feel closest to?

White, Non-Hispanic: 80%

Black or African-American: 7%

Latino or Hispanic: 6%

Other: 8%

View Larger +
Prev Next

Which of the following best describes your current employment status?

Employed full-time: 45%

Employed part-time: 10%

Self-employed: 6%

Not employed / Homemaker: 6%

Not employed: 28%

Student: 4%

View Larger +
Prev Next

Which one of these best describes your religious preference or spiritual outlook?

Catholic: 43%

Protestant:10%

Fundamentalist/Evangelical Christian: 4%

Jewish: 3%

Muslim: 1%

LDS/Mormon: *

Another religion: 3%

Atheist: 7%

Secular humanist: 2%

No religious preference: 21%

Not sure: 5%

View Larger +
Prev Next

When it comes to voting, do you consider yourself to be affiliated with the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, Moderate, or Unaffiliated with a major party?

Democrat: 38%

Republican: 15%

Moderate: 6%

Unaffiliated: 39%

Don't know/Refused: 3%

View Larger +
Prev Next

In November, there will be a statewide general election for Governor and many other state offices. How likely is it that you will vote in this election? Will you definitely be voting, will you probably be voting, are you 50-50...

Definitely be voting: 86%

Probably be voting: 14%

View Larger +
Prev Next

Did you vote in the 2014 midterm elections?

Yes: 80%

No: 10%

I don't remember: 9%

View Larger +
Prev Next

Did you vote in the 2016 general election for president?

Yes: 89%

No: 8%

I don't remember: 1%

I was not eligible: 2%

View Larger +
Prev Next

For whom did you vote? 

Hillary Clinton: 48%

Donald Trump: 36%

Someone else: 14%

I do not remember: 2%
 

View Larger +
Prev Next

What would you say is the number one problem facing Rhode Island that you would like the Governor to address?  [Open-Ended Response]

Jobs and economy: 21%

Taxes: 20%

Roads: 11%

Education: 8%

State budget: 6%

Corruption/Public integrity: 5%

Healthcare: 4%

Immigration: 4%

Drugs and Opioids: 3%

Entitlements: 3%

Housing: 2%

Governor: 2%

Homelessness:1%

Don’t Know: 7%

Other: 5%            

View Larger +
Prev Next

In general, would you say things in Rhode Island are headed in the right direction or are they off on the wrong track?

Right track: 19%

Wrong track: 38%

Mixed: 43%

View Larger +
Prev Next

Which of the following comes closest to your view regarding each of the following candidates for governor of Rhode Island? [RANDOMIZED]

Gina Raimondo, a Democrat

I am sure to vote for her: 18%

There is a good chance I will vote for her: 20%

It is possible that I vote for her: 17%

It is unlikely that I will vote for her: 13%

I will never vote for her: 32%

View Larger +
Prev Next

Which of the following comes closest to your view regarding each of the following candidates for governor of Rhode Island? [RANDOMIZED]

Allan Fung, a Republican

I am sure to vote for him: 15%

There is a good chance I will vote for him: 13%

It is possible that I vote for him: 23%

It is unlikely that I will vote for him: 20%

I will never vote for him: 29%

View Larger +
Prev Next

Which of the following comes closest to your view regarding each of the following candidates for governor of Rhode Island? [RANDOMIZED]

Joe Trillo, an Independent

I am sure to vote for him: 3%

There is a good chance I will vote for him: 6%

It is possible that I vote for him: 31%

It is unlikely that I will vote for him: 30%

I will never vote for him: 30%

View Larger +
Prev Next

Next is a series of qualities and attributes that candidates for Governor could possess. Which candidate for Governor does each attribute apply to most? [RANDOMIZED]

Has a vision for the state.

Allan Fung: 25%

Gina Raimondo: 31%

Joe Trillo: 11%

None: 12%

Don't know: 22%

View Larger +
Prev Next

Next is a series of qualities and attributes that candidates for Governor could possess. Which candidate for Governor does each attribute apply to most? [RANDOMIZED]

Will ensure that we have high-quality affordable health care. 

Allan Fung: 13%

Gina Raimondo: 28%

Joe Trillo: 11%

None: 17%

Don't know: 31%

View Larger +
Prev Next

Next is a series of qualities and attributes that candidates for Governor could possess. Which candidate for Governor does each attribute apply to most? [RANDOMIZED]

Cares about people like me.

Allan Fung: 23%

Gina Raimondo: 25%

Joe Trillo: 14%

None: 19%

Don't know: 19%

View Larger +
Prev Next

Next is a series of qualities and attributes that candidates for Governor could possess. Which candidate for Governor does each attribute apply to most? [RANDOMIZED]

Will make government more accountable to the people.

Allan Fung: 21%

Gina Raimondo: 24%

Joe Trillo: 12%

None: 19%

Don't know: 24%

View Larger +
Prev Next

Next is a series of qualities and attributes that candidates for Governor could possess. Which candidate for Governor does each attribute apply to most? [RANDOMIZED]

Will stand up to special interests.

Allan Fung: 17%

Gina Raimondo: 21%

Joe Trillo: 17%

None: 19%

Don't know: 25%

View Larger +
Prev Next

Next is a series of qualities and attributes that candidates for Governor could possess. Which candidate for Governor does each attribute apply to most? [RANDOMIZED]

Is committed to improving education in public schools.

Allan Fung: 21%

Gina Raimondo: 43%

Joe Trillo: 6%

None: 9%

Don't know: 21%

View Larger +
Prev Next

Next is a series of qualities and attributes that candidates for Governor could possess. Which candidate for Governor does each attribute apply to most? [RANDOMIZED]

Is a fighter for the middle class.

Allan Fung: 22%

Gina Raimondo: 27%

Joe Trillo: 15%

None: 16%

Don't know: 19%

View Larger +
Prev Next

Next is a series of qualities and attributes that candidates for Governor could possess. Which candidate for Governor does each attribute apply to most? [RANDOMIZED]

Is honest and trustworthy.

Allan Fung: 19%

Gina Raimondo: 25%

Joe Trillo: 9%

None: 23%

Don't know: 25%

View Larger +
Prev Next

Next is a series of qualities and attributes that candidates for Governor could possess. Which candidate for Governor does each attribute apply to most? [RANDOMIZED]

Will hold the line on taxes.

Allan Fung: 24%

Gina Raimondo: 19%

Joe Trillo: 13%

None: 19%

Don't know: 25%

View Larger +
Prev Next

Next is a series of qualities and attributes that candidates for Governor could possess. Which candidate for Governor does each attribute apply to most? [RANDOMIZED]

Is fiscally responsible.

Allan Fung: 28%

Gina Raimondo: 29%

Joe Trillo: 10%

None: 12%

Don't know: 21%

View Larger +
Prev Next

Next is a series of qualities and attributes that candidates for Governor could possess. Which candidate for Governor does each attribute apply to most? [RANDOMIZED]

Brings fresh ideas and perspectives.

Allan Fung: 23%

Gina Raimondo: 25%

Joe Trillo: 15%

None: 17%

Don't know: 19%

View Larger +
Prev Next

If the election for Governor were held today and the candidates were: [ROTATE] Democrat Gina Raimondo, Republican Allan Fung and Independent Joe Trillo, for whom would you vote?

Gina Raimondo, a Democrat: 40%

Allan Fung, a Republican: 32%

Joe Trillo, an Independent: 17%

Don't know: 11%

View Larger +
Prev Next

Attorney generals in several states have begun investigating sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy, opening investigations and issuing subpoenas for documents.

Do you favor or oppose the Rhode Island Attorney General opening an investigation into the Archdiocese of Providence on issues related to possible sexual abuse of children?

Net: Support: 89%

Strongly Support: 61%

Somewhat Support: 27%

Net: Oppose: 7%

Somewhat Oppose: 5%

Strongly Oppose: 3%


Don't Know    4%

View Larger +
Prev Next

If the election for the U.S. Senate were held today and the candidates were: [ROTATE] Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse and Republican Robert Flanders, for whom would you vote?

 

Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat: 56%

Robert Flanders, a Republican: 32%

Don't know    12%

View Larger +
Prev Next

Recently, it was announced that state officials approved a fast-track regulatory review of Massachusetts based Partners HealthCare’s proposed takeover of Care New England, Rhode Island’s second-largest hospital system, and operator Women & Infants, Butler and Kent Hospitals. [RANDOMIZED]

Do you believe the quality of care for Rhode Islanders will:

Improve: 21%

Worsen: 19%

Stay about the same: 44%

Don't know: 16%

View Larger +
Prev Next

Recently, it was announced that state officials approved a fast-track regulatory review of Massachusetts based Partners HealthCare’s proposed takeover of Care New England, Rhode Island’s second-largest hospital system, and operator Women & Infants, Butler and Kent Hospitals. [RANDOMIZED]

Do you believe the number of jobs available to Rhode Islanders will:

Increase: 22%

Decrease: 27%

Stay about the same: 38%

Don't know    13%

View Larger +
Prev Next

The City of Providence and the state of Rhode Island are considering a proposal by New York

developer Jason Fane to build a 46-story luxury residence tower in Providence, next to a public

riverfront park.  The developer will invest $250 to $300 million of his own funds.  The project is

called the Hope Point Tower, it would be 170-feet taller than the Superman building and would

require waiving height restrictions and the use of state tax credits.

Net: Favor: 39%

Strongly favor: 15%

Somewhat favor: 23%

Net: Oppose: 52%

Somewhat oppose: 26%

Strongly oppose: 26%

Don't know:10%

View Larger +
Prev Next

Earlier this year, legislation was filed in the General Assembly that would require that all Rhode Island public schools have a school resource officer on the premises -- if a school has over 1,200 students -- two school resource officers would need to be present.

Net: Support: 68%

Strongly Support: 37%

Somewhat Support: 32%

Net: Oppose: 25%

Somewhat Oppose: 14%

Strongly Oppose: 10%

Don't Know: 7%

View Larger +
Prev Next

Do you support or oppose expanding Rhode Island’s free college tuition program at the

Community College of Rhode Island to the state’s two four-year colleges so that the last two

years of tuition at Rhode Island College and URI would be free for those recent high school

graduates, who are in a solid academic standing, and on track to graduate in four years? It is estimated that the cost of the program would be $35 million.

Net: Support: 55%

Strongly Support: 29%

Somewhat Support: 25%

Net: Oppose: 40%

Somewhat Oppose: 17%

Strongly Oppose: 24%

Don't Know: 5%

View Larger +
Prev Next

Do you support or oppose an Educational Bill of Rights for students and parents in Rhode Island that includes:

1) The right to be taught by effective teachers.

2) The right not to be taught by teachers who, after due process evaluation, fail to meet standards established by state and local education officials.

3) The right to appropriate academic materials and resources.

4) The right to safe, clean and environmental-friendly school facilities.

5) The right to emotionally supportive schools that do not tolerate harassment, discrimination or abuse.

6) The right to attend a school where funding is based on student need with the goal of providing

access to adequate educational opportunities.

7) The right to a pathway out of a failing school.

8) The right to a fair, accurate and transparent assessment system that measures student

performance and need.

9) The right of parents to current and reliable information about their child’s progress and performance.

Net: Support: 84%

Strongly Support: 51%

Somewhat Support: 33%

Net: Oppose: 9%

Somewhat Oppose: 7%

Strongly Oppose: 2%


Don't Know: 7%

View Larger +
Prev Next

Recently, Governor Gina Raimondo has been criticized for accepting $12,500 in campaign and

PAC contributions from members of the Sackler family. Owners of Purdue Pharma, the Sackler

family has been profiled in multiple national news outlets for fueling the US opioid addiction epidemic, through its painkiller OxyContin.

The Financial Times has also reported that the family also owns Rhodes Pharma, Rhode Island-

based drug maker that is among the largest producers of off-patent generic opioids in the US.

If Governor Gina Raimondo asked you for advice on this – would you suggest that she …

Return the money: 71%

Keep the money: 15%

Don't know: 14%

View Larger +
Prev Next

In terms of the number of women who face sexual harassment in the workplace – would you say that sexual harassment in Rhode Island is a …

Major problem: 35%

Minor problem: 36%

Not a problem    7%

Don't know    22%

View Larger +
Prev Next

Which party do you believe is most responsible for the Providence school bus strike?

Teamsters Local 251: 31%

The bus company: 21%

Mayor Jorge Elorza: 19%

Don't know: 29%

 
 

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.

 
 

Sign Up for the Daily Eblast

I want to follow on Twitter

I want to Like on Facebook

Delivered Free Every
Day to Your Inbox