(AP) – Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt is referring 12 former clergy for potential criminal prosecution after his office completed a 13-month investigation of sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church.
Schmitt on Friday released details of the investigation of religious leaders within the Archdiocese of St. Louis and the dioceses of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Springfield-Cape Girardeau and Jefferson City.
Missouri is among several states that launched investigations last year after a Pennsylvania report cited abuse of more than 1,000 children by hundreds of priests there since the 1940s, and efforts by church leaders to hide it.
Schmitt’s investigation found 163 priests or clergy members accused of sexual abuse or misconduct against minors. Of the 80 still alive, the statute of limitations has run out on many of the alleged crimes.