JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A Catholic bishop on Thursday released the names of clergy or brothers in the Catholic Church who once served in the Jefferson City Diocese and have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children.
The list of 33 names also includes those who were removed from the Jefferson City Diocese ministry because of concern for youth safety.
The release of the names coincided with a 1 p.m. news conference on the subject. Every person on the list has been formally removed or is deceased, Bishop Shawn McKnight said.
Only one has been criminally convicted, the diocese said in a news release. In 2014, Fr. Gerald Howard was sentenced to 12 years on three counts of forcible sodomy. Howard also went by Carmine Sita in New Jersey.
McKnight in the release said an independent review of files showed no priest, deacon or religious leader now in the diocese has ever been accused of child sexual abuse. McKnight said the diocese has spent $4.7 million on the issue since 2003. That compares to $1.5 million spent between 1956, the inception of the diocese, and June 30, 2003.
"All of these men are either deceased or formally removed from the ministry of the diocese," McKnight said at the news conference. He said there are no credible allegations against anyone now serving in the diocese.
The most recent credible report of sexual abuse in the diocese happened in 1997, he said.
McKnight also unveiled a new policy that any religious communities serving in the diocese must release names of the credibly accused. The policy, McKnight said, will imposed on Jan. 1, 2020.
McKnight said in August that the diocese is cooperating with Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley's investigation into clergy abuse. The news conference Thursday is part of an effort to "bring greater transparency and healing" to the diocese, the church said in an advisory about the news conference.
The issue gained new currency in August when a grand jury report in Pennsylvania showed more than 300 priests in six diocese there had been credibly accused of sexually abusing more than 1,000 children.
Look for more on this developing story.