St. Louis, Mo., Aug 23, 2018 / 17:00 pm
Archbishop Robert J. Carlson has invited the Missouri attorney general’s office to conduct an inspection of its files related to allegations of sexual abuse and to produce an independent report.
In an Aug. 23 letter to Missouri Attorney General Joshua D. Hawley, Carlson said that he was aware of requests from members of the public for an investigation into the Catholic Church in the state.
“We have always cooperated with law enforcement in any investigation into these matters and will continue to do so,” Carlson said.
In Missouri, the state attorney general does not have the power to convene a grand jury such as the one which published an Aug. 14 report into the handling of sexual abuse allegation in six dioceses in Pennsylvania. That report identified allegations of sexual abuse involving 300 priests and more than 1,000 potential victims over 70 years.
Hawley, in a conference call with journalists, said that he was “heartened” by the offer of full cooperation from the archdiocese. He thanked the archbishop for the invitation in a letter issued today.
“We appreciate your leadership and your commitment to public transparency and accountability,” Hawley wrote.
The attorney general confirmed that he would assemble a team of experienced attorneys and prosecutors to conduct a “vigorous, searching, and comprehensive inquiry” which would review documents and interview potential victims and witnesses to alleged abuse.
Archbishop Carlson’s letter noted that steps had already been taken to ensure that its processes for handling complaints were sufficient.