For immediate release: Wednesday November 6, 2013
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson didn’t get what he wanted this morning – the immediate dismissal of perhaps the most serious clergy sex abuse and cover up suit the archdiocese has ever faced. It charges Fr. Joseph Jiang of molesting a girl as recently as 2012. And it charges Carlson with attempted witness tampering.
We're grateful that the judge is taking this case under advisement. Carlson faces six charges in the suit. If even one of them is upheld, this brave family may get to expose the corruption and complicity of top Catholic officials in court.
Despite more than a decade of pledges to be “open” about clergy sex crimes, Carlson still refuses to say
--where Fr. Jiang is now,
--how he met Fr. Jiang,
--why he and Fr. Jiang moved from city to city,
--why Fr. Jiang had a room in Carlson’s home,
--whether Fr. Jiang admitted his guilt to him,
--whether he called the victim’s parents, and
--whether he tried to get Fr. Jiang’s $20,000 check from the victims’ family.
(The latter three or four allegations are included in the civil suit against Carlson.)
(Carlson DID call the allegations against the archdiocese “baseless,” but that’s a legal term. Carlson has never addressed questions about his involvement in the Fr. Jiang case and never flatly denied that he called the victim’s mom and asked if she would give him Fr. Jiang’s $20,000 check.)
Some Catholics understand Carlson’s insistence to challenge older child sex cases (because witnesses can die, memories can fade, and documents can be lost). But we suspect few Catholics will understand – or approve of – Carlson trying to get a very recent clergy sex abuse and cover up case dismissed, particularly that apparently has some pretty compelling evidence: text messages, phone messages, and a pending criminal case.
We hope this ruling will give hope to those who saw, suspected or suffered Fr. Jiang’s crimes. We hope they will find the courage to take action to protect other children.