Belleville bishop challenged on abuse

Belleville bishop challenged on abuse

“Sexually violent predator” worked in diocese

Few knew of his time in southern IL until recently

Two more accused abusers missing from church site

Catholic officials should hire outside firm to look through its files

This recommendation just made by church’s top abuse lay leader

WHAT

Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will disclose, for the first time, that a convicted child molesting cleric who was deemed “sexually violent” worked in Belleville.

They will also call on local Catholic officials to

--update the diocesan website and add names of all three publicly accused clerics who are missing, and

-- use lay church members and an outside firm to review all abuse records to see if there are old cases that should be revisited and/or other proven, admitted or credibly accused child molesting clerics who are being hidden.

WHEN

TODAY, Thursday, Nov. 15 at 2:00 p.m.

WHERE

On the sidewalk outside Belleville Catholic headquarters (“chancery office”) 222 South Third St. in Belleville, IL

WHO

Two – four victims and advocates who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, including a St. Louis man who was the group's former long time executive director, and a group of concerned Belleville area Catholics called Faithful of Southern Illinois

WHY

1) A new abuse report released last month in California showed that a serial abusive priest, who molested an estimated 31 boys in three states over 25 years, worked at the Pastoral Center in Belleville in the 1990s.

He is Fr. Frederick A. Lenczycki, who SNAP believes was the first US priest in history to be deemed a "sexually violent predator" and was kept behind bars even after having served his sentence because of that designation.

2) Two other priests who have been publicly accused of child sexual abuse are not on the list of priests with “Clergy Removed from Ministry . . .after credibly substantiated allegations of the sexual abuse of minors,” on the diocesan website.

They are Fr. Alfred “Gene” Kreher and Fr. Roger Schoenhofen. Both worked in the Belleville diocese and have been mentioned in mainstream news accounts as alleged abusers. And both are listed on the most reputable source of information on this crisis, BishopAccountability.org.

Any of the three could have hurt local kids, SNAP and FOSIL say, and might still be abusing, so Belleville church staff have a duty to alert and warn parents about them. (Fr. Kreher is believed to be local.)

3) Yesterday, the head of the US Catholic church’s top abuse panel told all US bishops “the National Review Board said that each diocese should, as soon as possible, review all files regarding clergy abuse allegations dating back to at least 1950. If it is possible, the dioceses should also share the results of this review with the public."

 In light of these three "missing” names of accused priests, SNAP and FOSIL want this investigation to happen in Bellevilleright away.

(Several dioceses across the country have already hired outside firms to conduct reviews like this.)

MORE BACKGROUND

Throughout the 1990s, Fr. Lenczycki also worked at several St. Louis parishes (Bridgetown, Florissant, Maryland Heights and unincorporated St. Louis County). In the 1980s, he worked two in two mid-Missouri churches (in St. James & Columbia) and spent time at at treatment center for sexually troubled clerics in Webster Groves (House of Affirmation, 1985-1986).

His last known job in the metro area was at De Paul Health Center (1992-2002). According to an attorney who sued him, Lenczycki was released in 2009, now lives in a Chicago suburb and is a registered sex offender in Illinois. He was arrested and convicted in 2004 of abusing three boys in the Joliet area, where he was ordained in 1972. Over his career, he was sent to at least five dioceses.

The chairman of the National Review Board who said the group recommended a review of all diocesan abuse cases, is Dr. Francesco Cesareo (202 541 3200). The Board is appointed by the US bishops.

CONTACT

David Clohessy, St. Louis volunteer SNAP leader, 314 566 9790, davidgclohessy@gmail.com, Anne Harter, Faithful of Southern Illinois, anneharter23@yahoo.com


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