Archbishop Robert Carlson has agreed to voluntarily cooperate with an independent state review of its records, Reuters reported today. Missouri’s attorney general, Josh Hawley, had said that his office could not force dioceses to cooperate with criminal investigations. Carlson is the first bishop in the state to agree to the review. His decision is a submission to the sort of public accountability the Catholic Church has often tried to avoid.
In a letter published by the St. Louis Review, a website run by the archdiocese, Carlson said that the protection of minors is “one of our highest priorities,” and that he had commissioned a review of the archdiocese’s safe environment protocols “by a former member of the FBI with experience in this area.” “She found our protocols to be appropriate and robust,” Carlson wrote. (There have been some of allegations of abuse made within the St. Louis archdiocese, but there’s not yet evidence of a cover-up.)
News of the St. Louis investigation broke after hours after WKBW in Buffalo, New York, published an investigation into the Diocese of Buffalo’s mishandling of abuse complaints. Similar scandals continue to unfold overseas, namely in Chile, where the Marist Brothers face 35 abuse allegations. Pope Francis has agreed to meet with Irish victims of clergy during an upcoming visit to the country.