Victims' advocate doubts Missouri's church investigation will match Pennsylvania's

Bill Grady
September 05, 2018 - 5:48 am
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Kansas City lawyer Rebecca Randles wonders how effective a state investigation will be in uncovering sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. Randles represents alleged victims of abuse by priests.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley is less than two weeks into his investigation of the St. Louis Archdiocese. A grand jury report in August said that internal documents from six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania show that more than 300 "predator priests" have been credibly accused of sexually abusing more than 1,000 child victims.

Hawley's investigation relies on information church officials are willing to release, Randles said. She told KMBZ she hoped Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker would exert some influence.

"It is our hope that she will ask the attorney general to do an official grand jury report," Randles said. "There is so much in the Diocese of Kansas City, Missouri -- that could be a great starting point."

Baker secured the only criminal prosecution of a sitting bishop in the church sex abuse scandal. Hawley said even with limited authority, if he thinks the investigation is being stonewalled, he will go public.

Randles stopped short of accusing Hawley of allowing his candidacy for U.S. Senate to affect his judgement in the case, but she was far from charitable in her assessment of the investigation.

"I can tell you that it appears to me the investigation is just face-saving from the outcry from the Pennsylvania issues," Randles said.

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