Hotline created for reporting abuse of Church finances or human resource policies

A safeguard for ensuring greater transparency and accountability — Separate from the number for reporting abuse or inappropriate conduct with a minor


A confidential telephone hotline has been created for reporting unethical or unprofessional behavior in the Diocese of Jefferson City.

The number is 573-635-0386.

“To truly have transparency and co-responsibility, we need to have systems in place that people can report if they see something that doesn’t add up,” stated Gary Wilbers, chairman of the Diocesan Finance Council.

“People can share such information in a confidential manner to make sure they know the gifts they’re giving are being put to the best use,” he stated.

The entire process is available in English and Spanish.

This is one of the safeguards Bishop W. Shawn McKnight has put into place to ensure greater transparency and accountability in the diocese.

Benjamin Roodhouse, chancellor of the diocese, explained how the hotline works.

“We have a telephone number people can call to leave a voicemail regarding anything suspicious — finances, human resources, anything,” he said.

When someone leaves a voicemail, it will immediately be sent by email to three people — one Chancery employee and two laypeople who are not employees of the diocese.

The three will confer and route the message to the correct people.

For a financial issue, it will be sent to an internal Chancery official and a member of the Diocesan Finance Council.

“Together, they will listen to the message and decide whether we need to gather more information or forward it to the full Diocesan Finance Council,” said Mr. Roodhouse.

The Finance Council will review the contents of every call and make a recommendation to the bishop about whether a full investigation should be conducted.

The bishop would make the final decision on how to proceed.

Similarly, for an issue regarding human resources, the voicemail will be forwarded to one Chancery official and a lay volunteer, who will forward it to Bishop McKnight’s cabinet, who will listen to it and make a recommendation to him.

Again, the bishop will have the final say.

“In either case, there’s no way that anything that gets reported can get buried or willfully ignored by one person alone,” said Mr. Roodhouse.

The diocesan website has also been updated to highlight this new way to report misconduct.

At, a link titled “Report Abuse or Misconduct” can be found at the top of the page. It connects inquirers to information about how to report misconduct, including the telephone number.

Mr. Roodhouse said these are concrete examples of the bishop’s commitment to promoting co-responsibility in the Church.

“This is an opportunity for the lay faithful to share in the mission entrusted to our bishop,” he said. “Ultimately, the responsibility for safeguarding the diocese rests with the bishop, but with this hotline he is asking us to be co-responsible for ensuring that the highest ethical and canonical standards are fully lived out in our diocese.”

Mr. Roodhouse emphasized that the financial and human resources hotline is distinct and separate from the phone number for reporting abuse or inappropriate conduct with a minor (573-694-3199).

Mr. Wilbers said having these safeguards in place gives everybody a clearer vision.

“We’re not relying on blind trust,” he stated. “We’re relying on what we’re truly seeing and hearing.”