KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A survivors group wants Missouri to do more to investigate claims of sex abuse in the Catholic Church.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests says an attorney general’s investigation into the problem is incomplete.
After about a year-long inquiry into sexual abuse allegations, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt on Friday said his office found 163 priests with credible accusations against them.
Schmitt has referred 12 priests for prosecution by county attorneys.
But SNAP believes this represents only the tip of the iceberg, because only one of the 400 victims in the group was interviewed as part of the state’s probe.
“We are on par, if not greater than, Pennsylvania because we are smaller,” said Rebecca Randles, an attorney who represents Catholic Church sex abuse survivors.
“Yet I know of over 200 priests. When you put together the number of priests who have served in the state of Missouri with the number that even the attorney general has found, you are finding that about 10% of priests in Missouri are abusive. Every other state has found 3 to 6%. So we are talking about a big problem in state of Missouri.”
SNAP wants Missouri to enact new laws that would give the attorney general power to subpoena church records and convene a grand jury to investigate childhood sexual abuse allegations in the Catholic Church.
That’s what Pennsylvania did, but those tools are not part of the law in Missouri, limiting the attorney general’s investigation.
SNAP wants its members heard and their claims validated. Many say they’ll only get justice once pedophile priests are behind bars.
The Catholic diocese in Kansas City and Saint Joseph confirms that at least one priest on the Attorney General’s list of 12 referred for prosecution did work in the diocese. A spokesman for the diocese tells FOX 4 the church wants all 12 to face justice for the crimes they’re accused of committing.