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In Missouri, Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced Friday that his office had been referred to as 12, former Roman Catholic priests for possible criminal prosecution after a 13-month probe as to how the diocesan leaders have dealt with allegations of child sexual abuse.
The study reviewed personnel records for each priest serving in the Church, since 1945, more than 2,000 priests and over 300 deacons, seminarians, and religious, women’s, Schmitt said. The researchers also talked to abuse survivors and their family members who are in contact with the attorney general’s office.
Schmitt, a Republican and a Catholic, said that his investigators had concluded that the Church was involved in a “long, enduring, and far-reaching cover-up of abuse, the identification of the 163 priests of the clergy who have been accused of sexual abuse or misconduct against a minor. Out of the 80 are still alive, the statute of limitations has expired on a 46 in the world.
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The attorney-general added that, in 16 of the remaining 34 cases were previously referred to the local prosecution, and, in five cases, it has been, or is being investigated by officers from the ministry of justice. Another case is still under investigation by the roman Catholic Church, to the left of the 12 cases referred to it by Smith.
In Missouri, Attorney General Eric Schmitt is regarded as a state senator, in this 2013 photo. (Kile Brewer/The Jefferson City News-Tribune via AP, File
Schmitt said that his office did not address the recommendation from anyone in the hierarchy of the church, because of the focus on the “perpetrators of the crime.” David Clohessy of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, called the decision “a tragedy.”
Clohessy, of St. In st. Louis, said Schmitt, it should have disclosed more details about the alleged crimes and where they took place.
“Even without the name of the individual, the names, and he can do a lot more than he did,” Clohessy said.
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Schmitt said the 12-pointers are the most by any state attorney general, since a Pennsylvania grand jury report in August 2018, with the accused up to 300 priests in the sexual abuse of more than 1,000 children.
“The betrayal of trust and innocence is devastating, and in many cases impossible to understand,” said Schmitt, who added that the investigation of the clergy abuse hotline will remain open, and he was encouraged by the potential of additional abuse victims to come forward.
Missouri’s four Catholic jurisdictions have conducted their own internal investigations, but are finding less and less on the alleged crimes, then the state of the research.
The Archdiocese Of St. Louis study published in July found 61 of the clergy, with the archbishop’s palace, called the “substantiated” allegations of sexual abuse of children. Thirty-four of the priests have died. The archbishop said that all of the living priests were removed from ministry. The list of individually-named three other priests have been accused of possession of child pornography.
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The Kansas City-St. Joseph, the Diocese’s report, released last week, the 19 religious leaders, none of them are currently in service. Thirteen have died, two have been removed from the ministry, and four of these are laicized, or removed from the clerical state. One of the laicized priests, Shawn Ratigan, is serving 50 years in federal prison on a 2013 conviction for producing or attempting to produce child pornography.
The other two dioceses to be released similar lists, accused of being the religious leaders of the previous year. The Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau has identified 16 of the priests with credible allegations of sexual abuse of children. The Diocese of Jefferson City, is listed at 35 credibly accused church officials, including that of 30 and the priests, and five as members of a religious order.