SNAP Leader Blasts Missouri AG’s Outreach Efforts
Tomorrow, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt will release his so-called report on clergy sex crimes and cover ups at a St. Louis news conference. This whitewash is precisely what we predicted and feared: apparently no subpoenas issued, no hearings held, no hotlines established, and no experts consulted.
Looking through old files voluntarily shared by wrongdoers is not an investigation. Catholic officials shrewdly conceal child sex crimes and have for decades. Why would they do a sudden turn-around and disclose damning information they have successfully fought for ages to hide?
Two veteran victims' attorneys - Rebecca Randles in Kansas City and Ken Chackes in St. Louis - have represented hundreds of abuse victims and have thousands of pages of church records. Neither AG Schmitt nor his staff have met with these attorneys nor even asked to look at what they have uncovered.
As best we can tell, AG Schmitt is also ignoring roughly one third of all priests in Missouri, those who belong to religious orders (like the Jesuits and the Marianists), which is an inexplicable oversight.
In Illinois, in just a few months, the AG disclosed that 500 accused abusive priests there remain hidden. In Kansas, in just a few months, law enforcement disclosed that 119 victims have come forward and 74 investigations are pending. This is what results from real investigations. AG Schmitt has provided no such helpful information over the past year and we cannot help but feel that he is unlikely to do so tomorrow.
Elsewhere, AGs are teaming up with local law enforcement, seeking more authority from lawmakers and taking aggressive and creative steps to protect children, expose abusers, and end cover ups. Sadly, Missouri AG Eric Schmitt is apparently doing none of this. Like his predecessor Josh Hawley, he is feigning powerlessness, endangering children and selling out victims.
Kids are safer when crime victims trust law enforcement. The Missouri AG’s half-hearted effort undermines that trust, meaning children will be less safe because of his timidity and short-sightedness. In that way, AG Schmitt has not only done a real disservice to vulnerable children and wounded victims, but also to the many dedicated, caring law enforcement officials across Missouri.
CONTACT: David Clohessy, SNAP Missouri (firstname.lastname@example.org, 314-566-9790)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)