MO - Archdiocese in court Friday, seeks to limit discovery

MO - Archdiocese in court Friday, seeks to limit discovery

Archbishop wants to give less info to victim

Carlson’s lawyers will try tomorrow to limit judge’s ruling

Case involves convicted predator priest who abused in 2000

Catholic officials have been ordered to turn over 20 years of records

The documents would cover child sex abuse allegations vs. all church employees

For immediate release: Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013

For more information: David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP Director (314) 566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com

St. Louis’ Catholic archbishop has been ordered to turn over information about every archdiocesan employee who has been accused of child sex crimes going back two decades.

Tomorrow, lawyers for the archbishop will try to severely restrict that order and limit the information they must provide to the alleged victim of a convicted St. Louis predator priest.

The case involves Fr. Joseph D. Ross, who allegedly molested a girl at an inner city parish in 2000. In 1988, Ross pled guilty to sexually assaulting an 11 year old boy during confession. Despite that conviction, Catholic officials quietly put Ross back on the job but told no one about his crimes.

In May, a St. Louis city judge ordered Catholic officials to turn over records about 20 years of child allegations of sexual abuse by employees of the archdiocese.

Lawyers for Archbishop Robert Carlson want Judge Robert Dierker to reconsider his order. They say they should be forced to provide records for a shorter period of time, only about alleged child sex crimes, only about accused priests (not bishops, seminarians, brothers, nuns, teachers and other employees), and only records that have already been made public through criminal or civil court filings.

“Carlson wants to basically gut the judge’s order and keep his secrets secret,” said David Clohessy of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “If he gets his way, Carlson will get a lot of information from a teenaged victim and, in turn, provide her with virtually nothing new.”

“It’s the worst of both worlds here. Carlson is asking for tons of private emails to and from a deeply wounded teenager, the victim in this case,” said Barbara Dorris of SNAP. “But he argues that he should have to turn over almost nothing of substance to her and her attorneys.”

Dorris says that Carlson’s legal maneuvers prove “that bishops’ obsession with secrecy by in clergy sex cases is as strong today as it’s ever been,” only now “bishops work harder and smarter and more quietly to keep their role in clergy sex crimes hidden.”

Dierker also ordered Carlson to produce

--correspondence between Ross and the now-retired Cardinal Justin Rigali, who headed the St. Louis archdiocese for years, and

--material sent by St. Louis Catholic officials to the Vatican in their effort to defrock Ross.

Carlson’s lawyers also want those parts of Dierker’s order reversed.

The hearing is tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 15 at 9 a.m. before Judge Dierker in Division 18 in St. Louis city circuit court.

A photo of Ross is available at BishopAccountability.org

Ross has lived in Arkansas in recent years. He worked at parishes in University City, Lemay, Pacific, Woodson Terrace and St. Louis city.

At least one Ross victim is represented by St. Louis attorneys Ken Chackes (369 3902, kchackes@cch-law.com). St. Louis lawyer Scott Rosenblum has represented Ross.

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  • commented 2013-11-15 00:51:36 -0600
    Church -so called- “leaders” like Carlson,Dolan,Listecki,Finn,Myers and many more are in effect re injuring already fragile victims/survivors by using Enron-type legal strategies. These disgraceful men have long forgotten that they run an organization based on the teachings of Jesus Christ. These despicable men along with the clergy and Catholics that remain silent while watching their leaders cause more pain to the victims should be ashamed of themselves. They all should reach out to each victim with love and care while doing whatever it takes for as long as it takes to help each and every victim on their journey through healing. Protecting power, assets and privilege at the expense of innocent lives is what has eroded the credibility and moral relevance of this church. Only the laity and any clergy with courage can stand up and change it. The Pope for 8 months has remained silent about the elephant in the room. Hope for him to do what is right is quickly evaporating. It soon will be too late.
    Dan Ogrodowski
    Victim and sometime survivor
    Eagle WI
    danno_469@yahoo.com