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Attorney who represents sexual abuse victims reacts to KBI report on Catholic clergy

Posted at 10:33 PM, Jan 09, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-10 11:39:02-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On Friday, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation released a report which identified dozens of Catholic clergy who may have committed sex crimes against children.

KSHB 41 News spoke with an attorney who tried and won many cases in Kansas and Missouri on behalf of sexual assault survivors of the Catholic church.

Attorney Rebecca Randles believes the KBI report highlighted fraudulent concealment of sexual abuse well.

In the report, the KBI said it found 188 suspected sexual predators in the clergy, but didn't release their names.

“If anyone is looking to protect their children from a given predator, there’s no way this report would allow that,” Randles said.

According to Randles, she tried her first case in 1998. Since then, she’s had more than 400 cases.

Randles says in this report, it’s the “what’s missing” that stands out to her.

“It was released on a Friday evening just before Derek Schmidt is no longer the Attorney General,” she said. “It signifies that there was a lack of political will to actually do anything in response to this report.”

Randle also said there were no additional layers of safety added.

“Why would there be any more safety than there was yesterday?” she said. “We’ve known for a long time there was a lot of priests. The mere fact that KBI posted or the AG posted it, merely confirms what we’ve known for a long time.”

Randles wants to see Kansas' statute of limitations changed and constitutional changes with mandatory reporters and accountability.

Since 1975, Randles says most states allow clergy to be mandated reporters with an exception of confessional.

But that’s not the case in Kansas — she says it’s a constitutional issue in the state.

“We need transparency," Randles said. "Transparency when allegations are made, who they are against, make sure the perpetrators are on the website, make sure there is community understanding of who the perpetrators are and prosecute."

According to Randles, there hasn't been any charges filed due to statute of limitations.

Still, Randles says she’ll continue to file lawsuits and says she has a number of them ready to go.