Friday, September 13, 2019
Show-Me Tough Questions For Missouri AG Amid Release Of Catholic Sex Crime Report
SNAP is an independent, peer network of survivors of institutional sexual abuse and their supporters and this morning they've sent some tough questions to journalists across the state.
Here's why . . .
KMOV: Missouri AG to release report on church sex crimes
And so, here's a preview of the conversation that will happen today as a local Catholic scandal continues . . .
SNAP: Suggested questions for Eric Schmitt
--You can’t be sure that Catholic officials gave you all the appropriate files, can you?
--SNAP says that two Missouri attorneys have thousands of pages of files about clergy sex crimes and cover ups but you didn’t sit down with them nor ask to see these long-hidden church documents. Is that true and if so, why didn’t you?
--Veteran Kansas City clergy abuse attorney Rebecca Randles says your office finally called her a week ago, said you wanted to interview her clients, but now – just days later – the investigation is over. Is this true and if so, how do you explain this?
--Which bishops did you question in person and how long did you spend with each?
--A third of all priests belong to religious orders (Marianists, Jesuits, etc). Some say cover ups are even more extensive in these orders. Did you look at them and if not, why not?
--How about national experts on the clergy abuse crisis? Tell us who you met with from across the US who has experience dealing with Catholic church officials and cover ups?
--Did you look at partnering with the feds or local prosecutors, who may lack the resources or expertise to take on a complex and powerful institutions like Catholic dioceses?
--Your predecessor said that the governor or the legislature could give you more power to investigate properly. Did you pursue this and if not, why not?
--There’s really no way – looking at files – to tell whether policies on paper are being implemented, is there?
--Over the course of 13 months, you say you’ve gotten emails from 70 alleged victims. How many of them did your staff meet in person?
--In a few months, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation says they’ve heard from 119 victims. Why the discrepancy?
--Over a year ago, AG staffers had a brief phone call with a new SNAP staffer and board member neither of whom knew anything about Missouri. They met with one ex-SNAP staffer and volunteer board member. They ignored two emails and a registered mail letter from SNAP's Missouri director who headed the group for 30+ years.
--SNAP says your office held no public hearings, set up no hotline, announced no deadlines, and as best (they) can tell, consulted no experts, including several former church insiders-turned-whistleblowers. Neither did they ask to come to a single SNAP meeting or for names of other experts, outside Missouri, who could have been helpful. Prosecutors in St. Louis and Kansas City have investigated and pursued cases against predator priests but, as best we can tell, they weren't consulted either.
--SNAP says that over a year ago, an AG staffer had a brief phone call with a new SNAP staffer and board member, both from elsewhere, neither of whom knew anything about Missouri. Your staffer met with one ex-SNAP staffer and volunteer board member in Missouri. But he ignored two emails and a registered mail letter from Missouri SNAP director David Clohessy who headed the group for 30+ years. Is that true and if so, why – over 13 months – did you not meet with Clohessy?
Developing . . .