MO- In just 5 weeks, 8 predatory clerics are exposed
All belong to Marianists, a St. Louis-based Catholic group
It's the religious order that runs Vianney and Chaminade
For immediate release: Thursday, May 15, 2014
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
Over the last five weeks (April 3 - May 14), eight Catholic clerics who belong to a St. Louis-based Catholic group have been publicly exposed – for the first time – as credibly accused child molesters.
All eight are Marianists and all eight worked at a Pittsburgh Catholic school. We suspect that some of them worked in St. Louis too. We call on Catholic officials – with the St. Louis archdiocese, the Pittsburgh diocese, and the Marianists – to disclose the full work histories of the eight clerics.
And we know that there are at least eight proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting Marianists clerics who HAVE certainly worked – and abused – in St. Louis (at three schools: Vianney, Chaminade and St. Mary's High School).
The burgeoning Pittsburgh scandal is reminiscent of what happened with Brother William C. Mueller (who worked at Chaminade and Vianney). Until 2005, he remained “under the radar.” That year, however, a St. Louis man filed suit against Mueller and the Marianists. Over the next few months dozens and dozens of men in three states disclosed that they too had been sexually victimized by Mueller (who now lives in San Antonio, Texas).
Since all of the eight, newly-accused Pittsburgh Marianists worked at a parochial school, we are asking Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik to write letters to alums of all current and closed parochial schools, urging anyone who was molested to speak up. We urge Archbishop Robert Carlson to do the same here.
We applaud these brave victims for stepping forward and beg them to contact secular authorities, not church figures.
There are at least two key lessons here.
First, times are slowly changing. It's somewhat less difficult these days for victims to expose predators. So we encourage anyone who was hurt by clerics – no matter how long ago it happened – to speak up so that the truth can be known, kids can be protected and healing can really happen.
Second, there are obviously some (perhaps many) child molesting clerics who have yet to be publicly exposed. So we again prod Marianist officials to go beyond the bare minimum and aggressively use their resources and bully pulpits and websites and bulletins and newspapers to beg those who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes to speak up.
It's irresponsible for Catholic officials to passively sit back and wait for the phone to ring. Top church officials – archdiocesan and Marianists – should personally visit every single parish and school where a proven, admitted and credibly accused cleric worked. They should clearly and emphatically beg victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to break their silence by calling police and prosecutors. Terse, carefully crafted three sentence notices tucked far back in a diocesan newspaper or parish bulletin don't cut it.
This cascade of revelations in Pittsburgh began in March, when we prodded Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik to seek out others who were hurt by Brother Bernard J. Hartman, who faces criminal child sex charges in Australia. (Hartman reportedly spent time in St. Louis too.)
That led to church officials sending two letters to alums of a Marianist school. And that prompted at least 19 brave victims of Marianists clerics to speak up.
Let's remember the suffering these wounded individuals have endured and likely are still enduring. They need and deserve our gratitude, praise and support. Their strength is peeling back decades of denial and secrecy. Their courage is inspiring others who suffer in silence to speak up. Their bravery is making kids safer. And their responsible, caring behavior stands in stark contrast to the secretive, reckless, deceitful and self-serving callousness we have seen, and continue to see, in the Marianists.
We hope every single person who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups by Marianists will reach out, expose wrongdoing, protect kids and start healing.
NOTE: The proven, admitted and credibly accused St. Louis child molesting Marianists include: Fr. Robert R. Osborne, Brother John Woulfe, Fr. William Christensen, Br. William Mueller, Br. Louis Meinhardt, Fr. Daniel A. Triulzi, Br. Tony Pistone, and Fr. Charles H. Miller.
The head of the Central West End-based Marianists is Fr. Martin Solma.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 15,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.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.