3 accusers, 1 settlement but he's still a pastor
Almost exactly a decade ago, the case of Fr. Alex Anderson was resolved in the St. Louis archdiocese. Remember this case the next time Pope Francis claims the church gets "picked on" over how it deals with child sex crimes.
Three men, who don't know each other, accused Fr. Anderson of molesting them when they were kids.
When Fr. Anderson was accused in 2002 of abusing one of them at a boys' home, then-Bishop Timothy Dolan believed Anderson's denial "on the spot" because Anderson "said it with a lot of peace."
According to the New York Times, “The same day that he met with the priest, (Dolan) reviewed the allegations with three (abuse panel) members and Archbishop Justin Rigali, and gave his opinion: Father Anderson was telling the truth.”
The Times reported that “there is no evidence that during this time the archdiocese sought witnesses to any abuse; Bishop Dolan later testified that he was unaware of an earlier abuse complaint against Fr. Anderson that had been withdrawn.”
But when deposed later, Dolan said that Fr. Anderson acknowledged that during summers at St. Joseph's, he had invited boys to sleep in his study, allegedly because it was air-conditioned.
So how did all of this get resolved?
Archdiocesan officials claim one accuser recanted. Another accuser, they said, was “not credible.” However, they ended up paying one of the victims $22,500.
Yet to this day, Fr. Alex Anderson remains pastor of a St. Louis area parish.
And every top archdiocesan officials involved - Dolan, Rigali, his successor Archbishop Raymond Burke, and then-vicar general Fr. Richard Stika – has since been promoted at least once.
When it comes to clergy sex crimes, Catholic officials claim “we've learned, we're reforming.”
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.