MO Attorney General prodded to act soon
March 26, 2019
Dear Attorney General Schmitt:
It’s been seven months since your office began looking into clergy sex crimes and cover ups in Missouri’s Catholic dioceses. Your Illinois colleague is conducting a similar probe. Let’s compare the two.
At this point in Madigan’s probe, the six month mark, all six Illinois diocese’s had posted proven, admitted and credibly accused clerics on their websites, thanks in large part to her prodding.
At this point in your probe, only two of Missouri’s dioceses have done so, and we’ve seen no evidence that you or your office has played any role in these disclosures or have tried to prod more of them. (The two are Missouri’s smallest dioceses: Jefferson City and Springfield-Cape Girardeau).
At this point in her probe, Illinois citizens had learned the names of 185 credibly accused clerics. At this point in your probe, Missouri citizens have learned the names of 48 credibly accused clerics.
At this point in her probe, Illinois citizens had learned that bishops in that state were still concealing the identities of 500 accused clerics. At this point in your probe, Missouri citizens have learned nothing about how many alleged child molesting clerics are still hidden.
At this point in her probe, Illinois citizens had learned that Catholic officials deem 74% of all abuse reports “not credible” or “unsubstantiated.” At this point in your probe, Missouri citizens have learned nothing about how Catholic officials handle such cases.
At this point in her probe, Illinois citizens learned a lot from the 3,400 word “preliminary report” she released. At this point in your probe, Missouri citizens have learned nothing because your office has released nothing.
At this point in the Illinois probe, citizens can see a prominent notice on the AG’s website that says “Clergy Abuse Hotline.” http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/index.html
At this point in your probe, Missouri citizens see no such notice on your website.
In short, you can, and should, do better.
You could start by meeting with us in both Kansas City and St. Louis. We’ve been around more than 30 years. We’ve listened to and met with and comforted thousands of victims, witnesses, whistle blowers and parishioners, current and former. (One of us has written you, weeks ago, using your on-line form and sent you two registered mail letters but has heard virtually nothing back.)
Attached is a list of knowledgeable individuals, some even experts, who we believe you and your office could learn from if they were called for help. Several of them can testify about their experiences “on the inside” – as clerics or church employees who encountered clergy sex crimes, misdeeds or cover ups. We hope you’ll contact them soon.
Just yesterday, we saw this headline on line: “WV Attorney General Issues Call for Witnesses in Clergy Sex Abuse Lawsuit” http://www.theintelligencer.net/news/top-headlines/2019/03/west-virginia-attorney-general-patrick-morrisey-issues-call-for-witnesses-in-clergy-sex-abuse-lawsuit/
Please do similar outreach soon.
And earlier this month, the Michigan AG, who is also conducting a similar probe, gave the public an update after her investigation had been going on for six months. She also gave a clear public warning that victims should talk with law enforcement officials, not church officials.)
Please consider asking legislators for added funding so your probe can be thorough and helpful.
We hope to hear from you soon.
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