- “Damning” police report will be released
- It shows priest admits “sexual attraction” to boy
- Cleric was sued and temporarily suspended in 2009
- But Vatican has just “cleared him,” his relative says
- So archbishop may put him back to work, SNAP fears
- Church hid the fact that a 2nd victim also sued & settled
- A victim’s friend & relative will speak publicly for first time
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, three people who have never spoken publicly before will disclose, for the first time,
--parts of an incriminating police report on a local predator priest who was suspended in 2009, and
--the existence of a second lawsuit against and secret settlement involving the same predator priest.
Along with SNAP members, they will call on St. Louis’ Catholic archbishop to
--keep the suspended priest out of ministry,
--reveal where he now lives and how many settlements involving him have been paid,
--put him in a remote, secure treatment center, and
--reach out to anyone he may have hurt, especially in Belize (where he worked a few years ago).
TODAY, Thursday, April 18 at 1 p.m.
Outside archdiocesan chancery office, 4440 Lindell (near Sarah) in the CWE
Three St. Louisans who have never spoken publicly before and are all connected to the same predator priest. One is Christopher Bertke, whose friend was molested by the priest. Another is John Doe, a victim who sued that priest. The third is a relative of a victim of that same priest. (The latter two will talk in silhouette without revealing their names.) With them will be two leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
Police report available HERE
In 2009, Fr. Kevin F. Hederman – a St. Louis priest - was suspended from his ministry in Belize when he was sued for allegedly abusing a St. Louis teenager who he met at Christian Brothers high school (CBC) in Clayton.
But local Catholic officials have not disclosed that in the mid-1990s, another man filed a similar abuse suit against Fr. Hederman. (Both suits settled.) Nor did they admit that Fr. Hederman made some damning admissions when he was questioned by police about the abuse allegations.
Now, it looks like Fr. Hederman may soon be returned to ministry.
Last week, in an email to SNAP, Fr. Hederman’s sister-in-law said that he was recently “cleared” by a letter from the Vatican. She is Terry M. Hederman, an art specialist at Moline Elementary in the Riverview Gardens school district (869-7436 ex. 4977, firstname.lastname@example.org). SNAP believes she’s telling the truth, given how similar cases have been handled by Catholic officials in recent years.
At the news conference, SNAP will release a copy of the email and several pages of an incriminating police report that contains shocking admissions by Fr. Hederman. The group will also release three written statements: one from a Fr. Hederman victim, one from a relative of a Fr. Hederman victim and one from a friend of a Fr. Hederman victim who was also approached by the priest.
At a bare minimum, SNAP feels St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson should a) make sure Fr. Hederman is kept out of ministry, b) disclose where he is are now, c) put him in a remote, secure treatment facility and d) aggressively seek out – both here and overseas – anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered their crimes or misdeeds.
“We are alarmed that Fr. Hederman may be around kids again and that local Catholic officials continue to make and keep secret other lawsuits and settlements,” said Clohessy of SNAP. “Catholic officials have spent the last 11 years pledging to be ‘open and transparent’ about pedophile priests. But they routinely break this simple promise.” said Clohessy.
“If Fr. Hederman’s sister-in-law is correct – and we suspect she is- we hope Carlson won’t put Fr. Hederman back to work and claim he has to obey his bosses in Rome,” said Clohessy.
Regardless of what the Vatican does or doesn’t do, SNAP says Carlson should aggressively seek out anyone else in his flock that may have been hurt by Fr. Hederman. “He should also stand up to irresponsible Vatican officials and refuse to put Fr. Hederman back among unsuspecting families,” Clohessy maintains. “In the short run, Fr. Hederman belongs in a remote, secure, independent treatment center. In the long run, he belongs in jail. We hope anyone who saw, suspected or suffered his crimes will find the courage to report to police and prosecutors so that others can be protected.”
In 2010, Fr. Hederman was living in Shrewsbury. He also worked at these local churches: Holy Rosary Parish (1975-1980), Blessed Sacrament Parish (1980-1981), Holy Trinity Parish (1981-1984), Corpus Christi Parish (1984-1988), St. Engelbert parish (1988-1992), St. Barbara Parish (1990-1992), North American Martyrs Parish (1992-1996).
The Fr. Hederman’s victim who sued in 2009 was represented by attorney Ken Chackes.
A photo of Fr. Hederman is available at BishopAccountability.org
Article about lawsuit vs. Fr. Hederman: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2009/05_06/2009_05_27_Townsend_StLouis.htm
Article about Fr. Hederman’s suspension: http://stlouisreview.com/article/2009-06-04/abuse-allegation
David Clohessy 314 566 9790 cell, 314 645 5915 home, SNAPclohessy@aol.com, Barbara Dorris 314 503 0003 cell, 314 862 7688 home, SNAPdorris@gmail.com