ShareThis Page
World

Missouri diocese abuse inquiry names 33 priests, brothers

| Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, 4:09 p.m.
Bishop W. Shawn McKnight, of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City, Mo., speaks at a news conference Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. McKnight released a complete list of the names of 33 priests or religious brothers in the Jefferson City diocese have been 'credibly accused' and/or removed from the ministry over sexual abuse of minor. This follows an internal investigation that began in February 2018. (AP Photo/Summer Ballentine)
Bishop W. Shawn McKnight, of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City, Mo., speaks at a news conference Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. McKnight released a complete list of the names of 33 priests or religious brothers in the Jefferson City diocese have been 'credibly accused' and/or removed from the ministry over sexual abuse of minor. This follows an internal investigation that began in February 2018. (AP Photo/Summer Ballentine)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Thirty-three priests or religious brothers in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City, Mo., have been “credibly accused” and/or removed from the ministry over sexual abuse of minors, the bishop of the central Missouri diocese said Thursday.

Bishop W. Shawn McKnight released a complete list of the names that followed an internal investigation begun in February. The list includes 25 priests from the diocese, three priests from other areas who previously served in the Jefferson City diocese, and five members of a religious order.

Fourteen of the 33 men named are dead. Many of them are elderly. The diocese said the most recent case of physical sexual abuse found in the investigation occurred in 1997. He said only one man on the list was criminally convicted.

“Although the incidents are in the past, the pain caused is still a present reality for the survivors of abuse and their loved ones,” McKnight said in a statement. He apologized for the actions of the priests and brothers, “and the incomplete transparency we have lived under by not making all their names public.”

McKnight said another 18 allegations have been made since August, and internal investigations into some of those claims are ongoing. He encouraged any additional victims to come forward.

McKnight said the diocese has spent $2.3 million on survivors of abuse since July 2003 and $2.1 million on the care of “credibly accused diocesan priests.”

David Clohessy, St. Louis director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, called the list “irresponsibly and painfully short on details.”

McKnight “should reveal where each of these men worked, when they were accused, when those allegations were deemed credible, why the years of secrecy, and where the men are now,” Clohessy said in a statement.

McKnight told reporters that he was not “trying to hide something” by declining to say where the men had served. He said many of them had served in a variety of places. He said it would be misleading to report only where allegations were made and also said some victims asked him not to reveal that kind of information.

The internal investigation is unrelated to an investigation announced in August by Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, in which the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, the Diocese of Jefferson City, the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau and the Archdiocese of St. Louis all agreed to open their records.

Hawley’s announcement came amid renewed concern about sexual abuse by priests that followed the release of a scathing report in Pennsylvania citing abuse of more than 1,000 children by hundreds of priests since the 1940s, along with cover-up by church leaders.

Mary Compton, a spokeswoman for Hawley, said that investigation is “active and ongoing,” but offered no timetable for when it will be completed.

“We are working as quickly as possible to carefully and thoroughly review all evidence obtained by our office,” Compton said in a statement. “The Pennsylvania Grand Jury completed its work in two years. Our Office believes Missourians deserve answers as soon as feasible.”

Hawley on Tuesday defeated incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill in the race for U.S. Senate. Gov. Mike Parson will name a replacement.

Jack Smith, spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, said the diocese also plans to release a list of names but will wait until the Attorney General’s investigation is complete.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me