ST. LOUIS - A St. Louis group wants a grand jury to investigate the Roman Catholic Church in Missouri concerning priest sexual abuse of children. This after there were similar legal proceedings recently in Pennsylvania.
They gathered outside Missouri State Attorney General Josh Hawley’s office in downtown St. Louis Wednesday afternoon demanding Hawley investigate the Catholic church for predator priests and people who have protected those men. Nicole Gorvosky has spent her legal career dealing with kids who were sexually abused. She said, “We believe we have the same issues as they have in Pennsylvania.”
Last week findings from a Pennsylvania grand jury revealed more than 300 predator priests were credibly accused of sexually abusing more than 1,000 children in that state. Gorovsky added, “What the Catholic Church has gotten better at is public relations the Catholic Church is very good saying this is an issue in the past and it’s not happening anymore that’s not true.”
Sandra Price is in charge of the St. Louis Archdiocese Office of Child and Youth Protection. She echoed the Archbishop’s recent statement that there are no priests now serving the area who have substantiated claims against them. She said this about a grand jury investigation, “We’ve always cooperated with law enforcement and we will continue to do so if the prosecutor’s office feels that needs to be done we will fully support it and cooperate.”
David Clohessy is the former leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. He said authorities should not only put the predators in jail but also the people who covered up for the predators. Clohessy said, “Clerics who ignored or concealed committed abuse be criminally charged.”
A woman whose son was abused as a teenager by priests said even when they are found guilty there is no way to wipe away the years of pain. Mary Ellen Kruger said, “They (the priests) each got ten years, served five and were out and three years after they were sentenced to prison my son took his own life so there is no justice.”
The people calling for the investigation believe there are as many as 1,000 young people who were victimized over the years in Missouri. In a statement, Attorney General Hawley said an investigation is up to local prosecutors, although he would assist if needed. The group asking him to investigate strongly disagree and says he has the power to look into the matter.