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Speaking to St. Louis' Fox 2 News this week, Patrick Wall noted that "Missouri law has been very favorable to the Church," explaining that has fueled the creation of "treatment" centers — housing offender priests — in the state.
Rebecca Randles, a Kansas City attorney who represents clergy abuse victims agrees. She told Church Militant: "All you have to do is start from the top down. Just think about who some of the leaders of the Catholic Church in Missouri have been in the last three decades."
Randles rattled them off:
Randles also included on her list of leaders Cdl. Raymond Burke, beloved by conservative Catholics, but who left without an entirely clean record of handling sex abuse allegations while he was in St. Louis.
She also pointed out that Missouri has more "treatment" centers than other states, and all of them are located in the St. Louis area, the more heavily Catholic part of the state.
Fox 2 News documented that:
"It's a public safety question, you know? Where are the perpetrators that have been acknowledged either by a court or by the various religious institutes?" Wall asked. "Who's supervising them?"
Randles also mentioned the lackadaisical attitude Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has for these cases.
"Schmitt's less-than-stellar report of his statewide investigation did refer 12 cases for prosecution. As far as anyone knows, nothing has been done on those cases," she said.
Randles did mention that Missouri laws give the attorney general little power to push these matters along, but remarkably, his office is opposing a bill that would give the state's attorney general more power in precisely these kinds of situations.
Carol Kuhnert, a native of the St. Louis area and author of No Longer on Pedestals, was sister to an abusive priest. His name didn't appear on any of the lists of "credibly abused" clergy until 2019. He lived rent-free at Regina Cleri until he died in 2004. Kuhnert is angry that the Church never disclosed her brother's crimes and never gave her the opportunity to protect her own children from their uncle.