MO--Catholic cleric to plead guilty; Victims respond
For immediate release: Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003 cell, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org)
A former Catholic cleric who headed an elementary school here will plead guilty to indecently assaulting two boys at a school in Australia.
Gregory Joseph Sutton, 65, was one of four men police charged earlier this year. He belonged to a Catholic group called the Marists.
For two years in the 1990s, Sutton was principal of St. Dismas Catholic school in Florissant MO and lived in Shrewsbury MO.
According to BishopAccountability.org: “Sutton, principal of Catholic school in Missouri, was arrested 8/95 on charges he molested students in Australia in 1980s. No accusations in Missouri. He was extradited at request of Australian officials 5/96 after several court battles. US officials knew he was wanted in Australia for almost year but didn't know he was a school principal. In Australia in 5/96 he pleaded guilty to numerous charges of abuse between 1976-1987. Sentenced to 18 yrs jail on total of 67 charges against 15 children. As of 5/14, he had been ranked as one of Australia's most-publicized child sex offenders.”
A photo of Sutton is available at BishopAccountability.org
At least five other accused clerics who worked in the St. Louis archdiocese who have gone or been sent abroad like Sutton. Two of them - Fr. Charles H. Miller and Fr. Jean Baptist Ormechea – were sent to Rome (Miller in 2007 and Ormechea in 2003. As recently as a couple of years ago, Ormechea was still in Rome, according to BishopAccountability.org).
The others are Fr. William Christensen (Bangladesh), Fr. Kevin Hederman (Belize) and Br. Felix Bland (Africa). Like Sutton, Bland pled guilty to criminal child sex charges.
At least 56 St. Louis area Catholic priests have been publicly accused of child sex crimes. Others who face or have faced similar CRIMINAL charges include seminarian Nicholas Pinkston, nun Judith Fisher, brothers John Woulfe and Felix Bland (both Marianists) and the following priests: Fr. William Christensen, Fr. Bryan Kuchar, Fr. Thomas Graham, Fr. Joseph Jiang, Fr. James Beine, Fr. James A. Funke, Fr. Donald Heck, Fr. John P. Hess, Fr. John P. Grady, Fr. Gary P. Wolken, Fr. William Vatterott, Fr. Joseph D. Ross and Fr. Gerhardt Lehmkuhl. (Charges against Jiang and Beine were tossed out, though charges against Jiang may be reinstated.)
No matter what lawmakers or church officials do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic churches or institutions to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Ex-Marist brother Gregory Joseph Sutton to plead guilty to indecent assault
Megan Gorrey, Canberra Times
A former Marist College Canberra teacher will plead guilty to indecently assaulting two boys at the school in the 1980s, a court has been told.
Gregory Joseph Sutton, 65, was one of four men police charged with fresh offences earlier this year as part of an investigation into historical child sexual abuse in territory schools.
Sutton had faced allegations in the ACT Magistrates Court of indecent assault committed against . . .
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.