Mo--Cleric spent time in MO sentenced for child sex crimes
Convicted cleric is sentenced tomorrow
He was in St. Louis a few years ago, SNAP says
He’s the first US abusive cleric sent back to Australia
In April, he pled guilty to repeatedly abusing two girls
A month later, he was found guilty of also molesting a boy
He’s part of controversial St. Louis-based Catholic religious order
It runs two high profile schools in the county and one in the city
A child molesting cleric who spent time here and works for a St. Louis-based Catholic group will be sentenced this week for child sex crimes. He’s believed to be the first abusive US cleric to ever be extradited to Australia.
Brother Bernard Joseph Hartman belongs to the Central West End-based Marianists, a religious order that runs three local high schools: Chaminade, Vianney and St. Mary’s.
In May, a jury in Melbourne found him guilty of molesting a boy. The month before, in Melbourne, he pled guilty of molesting two girls. (One said he violated her with a turkey baster.)
As recently as 20 12, Hartman was on the job in Dayton Ohio working near a parochial school though he apologized in writing more than a decade earlier to a girl he molested.
Later that year, Australian journalist Brendan Roberts of Australia’s Nine Network and a cameraman spent several days in St. Louis trying to track down Hartman. Dayton parishioners told Roberts that Hartman was living at a church property in St. Louis.
Hartman also worked in Pittsburgh at North Catholic High School. It has since been renamed and is now called Cardinal Wuerl High School.
SNAP wants church officials – here, in Pittsburgh and Australia - to “aggressively seek out and help” others who may have been hurt by Hartman.
“We’re afraid Br. Hartman may have been hurting kids right up until he was arrested,” said David Clohessy of St. Louis. He heads an international support group called the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “And it’s very likely others who were hurt by him are still suffering in shame, silence and self-blame. Archbishop Robert Carlson, Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis Schnurr, Pittburgh Bishop David Zubik and other Catholic officials and church members should do everything possible to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded through aggressive outreach to others victims witnesses and whistleblowers.”
SNAP is also urging anyone who was hurt by Hartman to “call police and prosecutors now so he can be appropriately sentenced and kept away from kids for the longest possible time.” The group is also prodding Catholic officials in St. Louis, Dayton, Pittsburgh and Australia to “come clean” with more information about Br. Hartman and aggressively seek out and help his victims.
“Over the years, Catholic officials have given him easy access to literally thousands of girls and boys in at least two countries,” said Barbara Dorris, outreach director for SNAP. “There could be dozens of adults mired in pain because of Br. Hartman’s crimes. Prelates in St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Australia should use parish bulletins, church websites and pulpit announcements to aggressively seek out and offer help to these wounded victims.”
At least 31 members of the Marianists are proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesters, according to an investigative report in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. Of these 31 Marianists, at least eight worked or allegedly abused in St. Louis.
There are at least 157 accusers.
Among the more “problematic” local accused Marianists, SNAP says, are
– Fr. Charles H. Miller who assaulted a St. Louis girl and was quietly sent to Rome after allegations against him surfaced in St. Louis (and were deemed “credible” by church officials). He is still “on the job in the literal and figurative power center of Catholicism,” Clohessy says, “where millions of unsuspecting young people and their devout trusting families visit every year.”
– Fr. William Christensen who worked and abused in St. Louis and who's accused of molesting at least 30 kids in Bangladesh (and may still be there now).
--Br. William Mueller who worked and abused in St. Louis and who's accused of molesting dozens of kids in three states (and still lives in Texas now).
Catholic officials claim that the latter two have been defrocked. But SNAP says they've never produced evidence of this. “And the Marianists have made no efforts whatsoever to help law enforcement pursue any of their clerics,” Clohessy said.
Besides Miller, Christensen, and Mueller, other local Marianists who have been publicly named as credibly accused pedophiles include Fr. Daniel A. Triulzi, Br. Tony Pistone, Br. John Woulfe and Meinhardt. (All but Miller worked at Chaminade.) Abuse lawsuits have been settled against Triulzi, Osborne and Mueller.
More details about each of the predators and their specific work histories (including dates, parishes and photos) is available at BishopAccountabilty.org
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.