MO--Charges dropped for second time for Jiang
For immediate release Wednesday, June 17
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-503-0003, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org)
For the second time in two years, Fr. Joseph Jiang, who has followed Archbishop Robert Carlson to several cities, has escaped criminal prosecution.
We’re heart-broken for the two families who have been devastated by Fr. Jiang’s crimes. Twice he’s faced criminal child sex abuse charges and successfully exploited legal loopholes and used legal maneuvers to escape consequences for his hurtful and illegal misdeeds. By doing so, he’s also helped keep a lid on the complicity of his boss, St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson.
We applaud these two brave families. And we’re grateful that one of them is now pursuing a civil abuse and cover up lawsuit against Fr. Jiang and Archbishop Carlson.
Now more than ever, it’s crucial that anyone who saw, suspected or suffered Fr. Jiang’s crimes speak up. And it’s crucial that they seek independent help – from police, prosecutors, lawyers, family, friends or support groups like ours, instead of calling Catholic officials.
It’s very frustrating, but time and time again in St. Louis, shrewd lawyering and archaic statutes enable those who commit and conceal clergy sex crimes to dodge responsibility for their horrific wrongdoing.
--In the first-ever civil pedophile priest trial in St. Louis city, a jury said Fr. James Gummersbach and the archdiocese guilty and ordered that the victim be paid $1.2 million. But that verdict was later overturned because Catholic officials exploited the statute of limitations.
--In the first-ever criminal pedophile priest trial in St. Louis city, a jury found Fr. Thomas Graham guilty of sexually assaulting Lyn Woolfolk. But Catholic officials later overturned that verdict on a technicality.
--In the first-ever criminal pedophile priest trial in St. Louis County, Fr. Bryan Kuchar walked free after a hung jury. (Luckily, prosecutors re-tried the case and Kuchar was sent to jail.)
--In a first, Fr. James Beine (a.k.a. Marr James) faced two sets of criminal charges: indecent exposure in St. Louis city AND child porn in Illinois federal court. But he exploited technicalities and escaped prosecution completely (and moved to Nevada where he tried to get a teacher’s license).
Thankfully, none of these four clerics has been put back on the job by Catholic officials. That of course strongly suggests that church bureaucrats know these priests are guilty of assaulting kids. But it’s dreadfully hurtful and disillusioning to victims, witnesses and whistleblowers when popular and powerful predators and their allies evade justice using loopholes.
Fr. Jiang has been arrested on child sex charges twice – once in Lincoln County and later in St. Louis city. In June 2012, he was accused of fondling a teenage girl (under 17) on four occasions. Those charges were later dropped.
In April of 2014, Fr. Jiang was arrested again and charged with two felony counts of first-degree statutory sodomy involving a boy younger than 14 at Cathedral school between 2011-2012.
For months apparently, Fr. Jiang lived at the Dominican Priory on Lafayette near Grand, just six minutes away from the Cathedral parish, where he allegedly met and hurt both the girl and the boy. He may still live there. For the sake of public safety, we call on Carlson to disclose Fr. Jiang’s whereabouts. Carlson needs to put Fr. Jiang in a remote, secure and independent treatment center far away where he'll have no access to kids.
It's possible that Fr. Jiang sexually assaulted this boy in the city while the priest was living at this same priory, Fr. Jiang is obviously not being restricted or supervised or monitored, which is extremely reckless.
So just to be clear, let’s walk through this one step at a time:
A now teenaged girl says Fr. Jiang abused her a few years ago.
Her parents believe her.
The police believe her.
The prosecutors believe her.
St. Louis' most experienced clergy sex abuse attorney believes her.
Law enforcement officials, in a court filing, say they have hard evidence, including a phone message, a number of text messages and a $20,000 check that Jiang reportedly left for the girl's parents after they confronted him with their suspicions).
And Fr. Jiang’s own archbishop suspends him.
However, the criminal case against Fr. Jiang was dropped for complicated legal reasons.
But the girl’s civil suit is continuing.
Then, last year, a boy said Fr. Jiang abused him.
His parents believe him.
The police believe him.
The prosecutors believe him.
Two counts of sexually abusing a child are filed.
And his own archbishop goes further, yanking Jiang's faculties.
We in SNAP find both sets of allegations credible too.
And one more point: the girl says, in her civil suit, that Jiang admitted his guilt to her parents and to Archbishop Robert Carlson. Despite being pressed repeatedly, Carlson refuses to confirm or deny that. Shame on him for his hypocritical and hurtful secrecy.
So perhaps as many as two dozen people believe these two kids (who have likely never met). But a tiny handful of loud Catholics vociferously proclaim Fr. Jiang's innocence. So just one simple question that these Jiang backers refuse to answer: All these adults who believe these two children, are we all deluded?
Again, we beg victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to step forward. We especially implore current and former archdiocesan and parish staff to speak up. Fr. Jiang is young, well-educated, well-spoken and well-connected. He will molest again, unless individuals with knowledge or suspicions about him find the courage to step up now.
One of Fr. Jiang's victims is represented by St. Louis city attorney Ken Chackes.