For immediate release: Tuesday, Aug. 20
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
It’s interesting what Archbishop Robert Carlson does NOT say, either in public or in his new eight page legal response.
He doesn’t say “Fr. Jiang never admitted his crimes to me." (In their civil suit, that’s what the parents say happened.)
He doesn’t say “I never called the girl’s mom.” (In their civil suit, that’s what the parents say happened.)
He doesn’t say “I never asked anyone to turn over the $20,000 check to me.” (In their civil suit, that’s what the girl’s parents say Carlson did.)
He doesn’t even say “I think Fr. Jiang is innocent.”
In a footnote, he does say the charge that he tried to tamper with evidence is "baseless." But again, he refuses to say whether he called the mom or asked for Jiang’s $20,000 check. Why won’t he just come clean and answer even these two simple questions?
It seems no matter what the facts or allegations are, Carlson gives the same answer: “I’m not legally responsible for any crimes or wrongdoing. I can’t be held accountable.” Not exactly a pastoral or reassuring reply from someone who professes to be a spiritual shepherd.
There’s fighting on the actual merits. And there’s fighting on the legal technicalities. Once again, using parishioners’ donations, Carlson chooses legal technicalities. Once again, he opts for the quickest and easiest way out, and the way that keeps the truth hidden.
Also last month, an archdiocesan PR staffer promised that the “allegations against the Archdiocese of St. Louis and Archbishop Carlson are false and will be denied in an answer to the lawsuit filed in court.”
In our view, Carlson is, in fact, NOT answering the charges, but breaking his promises of openness while adopting maneuvers of defense that cloud, rather than clarify the situation, as he has in dozens of other, older clergy sex abuse and cover up cases.
We believe Carlson should answer questions at an open public meeting at the Cathedral about all six wrongdoers and emphatically beg anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered their crimes or cover ups to call police. For the safety of kids, we feel Carlson should disclose where Fr. Jiang is now living, especially because of the close ties between the two men.