Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announced Thursday that he was launching a probe into “sex crimes within the Roman Catholic Church,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Hawley added that the Archdiocese of St. Louis has “offered to open its files” for his office’s investigation. “While my office does not have jurisdiction at the present time to prosecute any criminal acts of this nature, or again to issue subpoenas to investigate it, it would be possible to conduct a thorough and robust investigation of potential clergy abuse if the various dioceses were willing to cooperate,” he told reporters. Hawley—who is currently running for U.S. Senate—said he will publish the report and hand over cases to local law enforcement after the investigation is complete. The announcement comes after survivors of clergy sexual abuse protested in front of Hawley’s office on Wednesday, calling on him to investigate. The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests claims that there are “at least 170 Catholic clerics” in Missouri who have been credibly accused of sex crimes. Last week, a Pennsylvania grand jury accused upwards of 300 priests of abusing more than 1,000 children.
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