Leaders of 2 Missouri dioceses address abuse concerns

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) – Leaders of two Roman Catholic dioceses in Missouri have outlined plans to address concerns about clergy abuse.

Diocese of Jefferson City Bishop Shawn McKnight on Friday promised steps to “improve accountability and transparency.” They include establishing protocols for responding to abuse allegations, expanding membership of a review board, and scheduling a mass of healing.

Meanwhile, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau says it will conduct an independent inquiry of possible abuse cases. The Springfield News-Leader reports that the investigation at the direction of Bishop Edward Rice will look back more than five decades.

The actions follow a report from a Pennsylvania grand jury this month that cited widespread abuse of children by priests.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announced Thursday that his office will launch its own investigation.