By Elizabeth Dias
The Missouri attorney general will refer a dozen men who previously served as Roman Catholic clergy for potential criminal prosecution, his office announced on Friday after a yearlong statewide investigation into clergy sexual abuse.
The investigation found that 163 priests or clergy members were accused of sexual abuse or misconduct against minors.
“Sexual abuse of minors by members of Missouri’s four Roman Catholic dioceses has been a far-reaching and sustained scandal,” Attorney General Eric Schmitt said at a news conference Friday morning. “For decades, faced with credible reports of abuse, the church refused to acknowledge the victims and instead focused their efforts on protecting priests.”
Mr. Schmitt, a Republican who is also Catholic, said he believed that his 12 referrals for prosecution were more than any other attorney’s general investigation so far.
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