Dear Attorney General Josh Hawley,
On Wednesday, August 22, 2018, I stood outside your office with survivors of childhood sexual abuse to ask you to organize an investigation into abuses within the Catholic Church in Missouri. We asked for an investigation like the one that occurred in Pennsylvania which revealed over 300 perpetrators and likely over 1,000 victims.
You responded that you did not have the power to do such an investigation. Your response was somewhat of a half-truth given that the Attorney General of the State of Missouri has the power to coordinate all kinds of law enforcement and prosecution efforts in the state. For example, you are currently running an advertisement on television claiming that you coordinated a state-wide audit on the backlog of untested rape kits in prosecutor’s offices in Missouri and are now coordinating an effort to get funding for this issue, and you are publicly pushing state prosecutors to be more aggressive on sexual assault cases. You can behave similarly here.
After telling the public that you were powerless in the childhood sexual abuse situation, on Thursday, August 23, 2018, Archbishop Robert Carlson sent you a letter and held a press conference to say that he would voluntarily provide you with documents from his Archdiocese. You accepted his offer.
Unfortunately, this is exactly backward. Allowing the accused wrongdoer to pick and choose what will be provided in an investigation of his wrongdoing is not an investigation at all. It is certainly not what I was asking for as I stood outside your office on Wednesday, and I do not believe it is what survivors of clergy abuse want either.
The Pennsylvania grand jury specifically noted that in addition to horrific child abuse committed by priests within the Church, the Church hierarchy perpetrated a cover-up that was shameful, harmful and that went unpunished. After hearing about such a mass cover-up do you believe that the Church in Missouri will be forthcoming with you in a “voluntary” investigation? If you do believe that as you have said in the press so far, does it make any sense to believe that? Do you want to reconsider?
The Archbishop of St. Louis has already shown himself to be untruthful in his public claims about childhood sexual abuse in his diocese. He said during his press conference that there were 27 accused priests from the Archdiocese of St. Louis, and none since he has been in power. Yet in 2014, after losing a court battle, the Archdiocese was forced to publish a list of 115 credibly accused priests in the Archdiocese of St. Louis in a 20-year period alone. In addition, I have personally brought new accusations to the Archdiocese since Carlson has been the Archbishop. He was not truthful.
Studies show that, on average, a pedophile will have at least 13 victims in his lifetime. Given that statistic, purely based on the 115 number, there are almost 1500 victims of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of priests within the Archdiocese of St. Louis for one 20-year period. Those people deserve solace. They deserve to be believed. They deserve justice. You are supposed to be a justice-seeker.
I implore you, as a person who cares deeply about survivors of childhood sexual abuse, whether it be by priests, rabbis, imams, coaches, parents, or Mr. Smith down the street, do more for the children of Missouri and the people who have already been deeply hurt.
Nicole GorovskyGorovsky Law, LLC.
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