SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau says it will conduct an independent inquiry of possible clergy abuse cases.
The Springfield News-Leader reports that the investigation launched at the direction of Bishop Edward Rice will look back more than five decades.
The inquiry follows a report from a Pennsylvania grand jury this month that cited widespread abuse of children by priests.
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announced Thursday that he would investigate after the Archdiocese of St. Louis offered to open its files. Officials at the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and the Diocese of Jefferson City also agreed to open their files to the attorney general.
The Springfield-Cape Girardeau diocese will seek out a non-Catholic to lead its inquiry to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.
Information from: Springfield News-Leader, http://www.news-leader.com