MO - Files released on two predator priests
Files released on two predator priests
Each abused in CA but spent time in MO
They’re with a St. Louis-based religious order
But each worked in the Cape Girardeau diocese
Victims blast MO Catholic officials for “continued secrecy”
SNAP to prelates: “Reach out to others who may be in pain”
Almost 250 pages of records about two predator priests who worked in southern Missouri have just been released and a support group for clergy sex abuse victims is urging three bishops to “reach out” to others who may have been hurt by them.
One priest worked at a college and a parish in Cape Girardeau. The other worked primarily in eastern Missouri but also spent time in Cape Girardeau.
Both Fr. John Edward Ruhl and Fr. John V. “Jack” Farris belonged to the St. Louis-based western region of the Vincentians but spent much of their careers in California, where child sex abuse suits were filed against them.
More than 120 pages of records about each men were disclosed last week and are posted here: http://www.lorpb.com/September-Release.aspx
Fr. Farris is a Kansas City native who went to St. John's seminary in Kansas City and was ordained in 1949. Fr. Farris was primarily assigned to eight or nine eastern Missouri church facilities from 1958-1999, with one year at the Evangelical Center in Cape Girardeau in 1985-1986. (See page 44 of the records for more details.)
Fr. Ruhl is a Chicago native who worked at St. Vincent’s College and St. Vincent parish in Cape Girardeau in the mid-1960s. He was ordained in 1964.
The lawsuits against both priests were settled in 2007, with a provision that personnel documents about the clerics – and hundreds of other child molesting priests, nuns, and brothers – would be publicly disclosed. Despite that agreement, Catholic officials have filed repeated legal motions delaying the disclosures for almost seven years. Last week, however, some of the records were released.
Fr. Farris is accused of molesting a child in California from 1951-54. He was then sent to a series of parishes in Missouri beginning in 1957.
Fr. Ruhl is accused of molesting three children from 1970-82. In 2002, an abuse report was made to his church supervisors in California that he molested a child several times in the early 1970s. Another confidential memo dated 1993 was written after a young man contacted church officials and said he’d been molested by Fr. Ruhl at a seminary in 1976.
According to the Los Angeles Daily News, “a follow-up note said Fr. Ruhl had been given a lie-detector test after a previous accusation and ‘there was reason to suspect that there had possibly been other inappropriate behaviors.’”
Fr. Ruhl left the order and became a priest of the Diocese of Orange in California.
Both also spent time at the now-closed St. Mary’s seminary in Perryville in the 1960s.
Now leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, want Catholic officials in three dioceses – Kansas City, Springfield-Cape Girardeau and St. Louis - to
--publicly announce the release of these files and post them on diocesan websites, and
--use diocesan and parish websites to urge more victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to come forward so that those who committed or concealed crimes will be prosecuted and jailed, kids will be safer and victims will get help.
The Vincentians have been prominent in the history of the church in Missouri, starting and running, for many years, Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis. In the Springfield-Cape Girardeau diocese, the Vincentians have worked at Holy Trinity parish in Aurora, Christ the Savior parish in Brewer and Sacred Heart parish Verona.
Another Vincentian priest, Fr. Vincent Bryce, now lives and works on the edge of the St. Louis University campus, despite having admitted that he repeatedly molested a boy.
Other accused abusive Vincentians who have worked in Missouri include Fr. Richard L. Lause in St. Louis and Fr. James Lawbaugh and Fr. Thomas Parrott in Kansas City. Civil child sex abuse and cover up cases involving all three of them have been settled.
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.