FBI interviewed individuals who accuse Amy Coney Barrett faith group of abuse

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The FBI has interviewed several individuals who have alleged they were abused by members of the People of Praise (PoP), a secretive Christian sect that counts conservative supreme court justice Amy Coney Barrett as a lifelong member, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The individuals were contacted following a years-long effort by a group called PoP Survivors, who have called for the South Bend-based sect to be investigated for leaders’ handling of sexual abuse allegations. The body, which has 54 members, has alleged that abuse claims were routinely mishandled or covered up for decades in order to protect the close-knit faith group.

It is not clear whether the FBI has launched a formal investigation into the PoP.

The Guardian has confirmed that at least five individuals were contacted by the FBI and four gave detailed accounts to agents of abusive behavior they allegedly experienced or witnessed. Individuals spoke to the Guardian on the condition of anonymity and said they believed the FBI interviews were part of an initial inquiry.

One woman who was interviewed by agents from Minneapolis, Minnesota, said she received an update last week and was told by agents that the investigation into her own claims, which involved allegations of sexual abuse by a teacher, had been closed. The woman told the Guardian that news had left her disappointed and defeated, and full of “a lot of questions”, because the agents had seemed interested in pursuing the matter.

A spokesperson for PoP Survivors said: “We urge the FBI to use their power to unearth the long-standing pattern of child sexual abuse and coverup in the People of Praise. All perpetrators and their enablers must finally be held accountable. We must ensure that no child is victimized and silenced by a People of Praise member ever again.”

Content retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/oct/03/fbi-people-of-praise-amy-coney-barrett-faith-group-abuse-allegations.

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