For immediate release: Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013
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)
“The sitting archbishop in St. Louis (Robert Carlson) took part in covering up a case of child sexual abuse in the Twin Cities when he was an assistant bishop, attorneys for an alleged abuse victim said Tuesday after filing Minnesota’s latest clergy abuse lawsuit,” according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Carlson was “one of at least four prelates who were privy to a 1982 admission by Fr. Robert Thurner that Thurner bought liquor for a 16-year-old boy and sexually abused him. The abuse was kept secret from parishioners at St. John the Evangelist in Hopkins, where Thurner was stationed, and from parents of children at St. Joseph’s church and school in West St. Paul, where Thurner was transferred the following year. Roach appointed him associate pastor at St. Joseph’s, with no restrictions,” the Star Tribune reports.
Carlson may be deposed in the case.
We in SNAP are sad but not surprised. In St. Louis, Carlson has been secretive and reckless in clergy sex abuse and cover up cases. It should shock no one that he was back in Minnesota too. (In the recent civil and criminal abuse cases against Fr. Joseph Jiang, for example, Carlson discloses little or nothing and refuses to do outreach to other victims, witnesses and whistleblowers, even though Carlson is accused of attempted evidence tampering.)
Call 911, not Catholic officials. That’s the lesson here.
Contact: Mike Ference
Trick or Treat Bishop David Zubik
Pittsburgh , PA – October 29, 2013 — If ever there was cleric gone wild who should be dredged up on devil’s night, Father John Wellinger is that evil spirit. As an advocate for clergy sex abuse victims for almost a quarter of a century I’m convinced that the Pittsburgh Diocese concealed Wellinger’s criminal activities with the help of law enforcement authorities, the university and medical community, elected officials at all levels of government, legal community and of course plenty of hierarchy from the Roman Catholic Church.
How could this to happen? We now know that protecting predator priests, clerics and the institutional church trumps God’s most precious commodity – innocent children. It’s the standard method of operation in every diocese and in every country.
On Thursday, October 31, 2013, in downtown Pittsburgh on the Boulevard of the Allies in front of the Pittsburgh Diocesan headquarters I’ll pass out literature outlining who knew what, where, when and why about the devastation caused by one predator priest Father John Wellinger and how everything was covered up.
Here are some of the details.
Sometime in 1987, possibly March, while Anthony Bevilacqua was serving as bishop of the Pittsburgh Diocese; Wellinger allegedly drugged and possibly raped and sodomized a University of Pittsburgh student. The alleged crime took place in the student’s apartment that was shared with his brother, also enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh. According to the victim, who I interviewed, he was knocked out for hours. Awakening, he intuitively called 911. Sadly, that’s when his real nightmare began.
Running down the stairs and into the street to meet the Pittsburgh paramedics, the teenager would be whisked away to Presbyterian Hospital emergency room (now University of Pittsburgh Medical Center). According to the victim, he was admitted, but never examined by a doctor. Keep in mind this young man was given a drug that knocked him out, administered by a lay person with very bad intentions. Wellinger also provided alcohol, yet no doctor wanted to be bothered by this case.
Could it be that the call to 911, answered by Pittsburgh paramedics, was the first step in alerting Pittsburgh Diocesan officials that one of their own had harmed another, again? Would diocesan officials then alert hospital officials to avoid contact with the patient?
Or, is it more reasonable to assume that medical personnel, sworn to care for and help others in need, would just say no to a young man drugged and possibly raped and sodomized by a Catholic priest? I don’t think so. An emergency room doctor, spending so much money on medical school and with so much to lose, would never make that call.
Was this normal protocol during the Bevilacqua years as bishop when priest after priest was charged with molesting minors? Bevilacqua even welcomed known predator priests into the Pittsburgh Diocese, Father John P. Connor being one of them. It’s called passing the trash from one diocese to the next. This year I spoke to a victim of Connor from the north hills section of Pittsburgh. How many other victims of Connor, just like Wellinger, are still suffering.
We now know how badly the Bevilacqua regime treated children in the Philadelphia Archdiocese since two separate and distinguished district attorneys from Philadelphia had the courage to protect children over dysfunctional, super sex freaks. Is it more reasonable to think Bevilacqua would protect sexual perverts only on the eastern side of Pennsylvania or that his criminal behavior would be congruent and consistent across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania?
Sadly, Allegheny County district attorneys have done more to protect video poker parlors than children abused by grown men in priestly garb. If I’m wrong, please let the current or a past district attorney of Allegheny County or, any elected official for that matter, stand and sing your praise.
According to the victim, Wellinger trailed him to the emergency room, the victim alerted the attending nurse on duty that he, Wellinger was the priest who drugged him. Still nothing was done. Security was not alerted, police were not called. The teenager would simply leave with his parents for a long ride home.
My interview with the victim was not the first time I was made aware of this event. As early as January of 1990, former Clairton Public Safety Director William Scully, a seasoned law enforcement officer, would sit down with my wife and me, in our own living room and tell us firsthand his knowledge of this alleged crime. Scully even provided me with details, notes and instructions to contact the victim’s parents to get all the facts.
There’s much more to this story, sadly, the victim’s mother was also traumatized by Wellinger. Just one more reason the crime and the priest were able to blackmail all parties concerned, so charges would never be made and Wellinger would never be held accountable.
Looks like this Trick or Treat season, Bishop David Zubik has two choices; fess up or continue to flip the bird to victims of ruthless sexual predators.