For immediate release: Friday, Aug. 12, 2016
For more information: Amy Lorenz-Moser 314 312 4979 (attorney), David Clohessy 314 566 9790, firstname.lastname@example.org, Barbara Dorris 314 503 0003,SNAPdorris@gmail.com
Twice-accused priest wants his deposition stopped
Cleric claims “I’m innocent & want to clear my name”
“So why delay and what are you hiding?” SNAP asks
Meanwhile, support group seeks to appeal to another court
In a bizarre civil case, a St. Louis priest who has twice been charged with child sex crimes wants a judge to block his deposition. SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) calls the move “hypocritical” and the group’s attorney is planning to proceed with the deposition.
Fr. Xiu Hui “Joseph” Jiang, has been criminally charged in two eastern Missouri counties with molesting a boy and a girl. Last summer, Fr. Jiang filed a civil lawsuit alleging “a conspiracy” by SNAP, prosecutors, two police officers and the parents of a boy, to deprive the priest of his civil rights because he is Chinese and Catholic.
SNAP calls the accusation “absurd yet chilling.” The group believes Fr. Jiang's testimony will show that his claim has no merit.
“Time and time again, Fr. Jiang claims ‘I’m innocent and want to clear my name,’” said SNAP outreach director Barbara Dorris. “If that's true, he should welcome the chance to testify. If he’s innocent, what’s he got to hide?”
“We have turned over hundreds of pages of emails and other records to this alleged child molester,” said SNAP director David Clohessy. “Fr. Jiang, on the other hand, has responded to none of our document requests. He can’t have it both ways – insisting that we give up information so the case can move forward while he stonewalls and dodges and delays.”
SNAP says he is a the first Missouri priest to sue the mother and father of an alleged child sex abuse victim. (Case Number: 4:15-cv-01008-CEJ).
Fr. Jiang is believed to be close to Archbishop Robert Carlson.
In a ruling that SNAP calls “unprecedented" in its history, last month, a federal judge in St. Louis ordered SNAP to give Fr. Jiang information containing names of dozens of victims, witnesses and whistleblowers. Never before, SNAP says, has a court issued such a “troubling order” against it, which it contends violates the group leaders’ consciences, duties and Missouri law which requires that it maintain such information confidential. SNAP fears rulings such as this will deter other crime victims from reporting criminals and put victims, their families and witnesses in potential danger.
"We of course have deep respect for the law and the judge," said Clohessy. "But we feel we have no choice but to also respect and honor Missouri law, our consciences, public safety and the pledges we've made to deeply wounded and often still fragile victims of horrific childhood violence."
Fr. Jiang’s lawyers have asked the judge to sanction SNAP for not fully complying with the order. This week, however, SNAP filed a motion asking the judge to let a higher court decide whether the group can protect the privacy and identities of victims who turn to it for help.
In its earlier filings, SNAP contends that the alleged “conspiracy” Fr. Jiang claims is impossible because SNAP leaders had no contact with victims, their parents or law enforcement until AFTER Fr. Jiang was arrested. In both cases, SNAP learned of the arrest through the news media. SNAP believes that Archbishop Carlson is the driving force behind Fr. Jiang’s suit and/or could stop it. SNAP also charges that Fr.
Jiang’s legal move is a “SLAPP,” a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, designed to scare and discourage victims, witnesses and whistleblowers into staying silent.
“This is a serious threat to other groups that serve victims of domestic and sexual violence and other crimes,” said Clohessy. “We’re convinced Catholic officials are desperately trying to de-fund, discredit, distract us while scaring police, prosecutors, parents, victims, witnesses and whistleblowers into keeping quiet and not reach out for help.”
“We feel that Fr. Jiang and Archbishop Carlson are desperately trying to protect their reputations and careers by scaring victims, witnesses and whistleblowers into staying silent,” said Dorris. “They’re being bullies and trying hard to protect their reputations and careers, instead of protecting boys, girls and abuse victims.”
Despite an official national church policy mandating “openness” in pedophile priest cases, Archbishop Carlson refuses to reveal where Fr. Jiang is living, why he had a bedroom in Carlson’s home and why Fr. Jiang followed Carlson from city to city (a highly unusual arrangement in the Catholic Church). Carlson also refuses to address an allegation that Fr. Jiang admitted to a Lincoln County girl’s parents that he’d molested their daughter and that Carlson tried to get the parents to return a $20,000 check that the priest reportedly gave them after he admitted his crimes. SNAP wants Carlson to honor his pledges to be “transparent” and publicly disclose this information.
In June 2012, Fr. Jiang was arrested and charged with repeatedly molesting the Lincoln County girl. He was charged with alleged child sex crimes and “victim tampering.” In November 2013, those charges were dismissed. According to a pending civil suit brought by the girl, Carlson was “supervising Fr. Jiang very closely,” “knew that (he) was a danger to children” and abused the girl while “living in the archbishop’s home.”
In April 2014, Fr. Jiang was arrested on charges of repeatedly molesting a St. Louis city boy between 2011-2012 at the Cathedral Catholic school in the Central West End. Those charges were dropped in June 2015. Prosecutors said, however, that they hope to re-file the case. The boy’s parents have not filed a civil suit. Nevertheless, Fr. Jiang is suing them (along with SNAP, two police officers and City).
In 2012, in what SNAP calls "a similar but less intrusive and less frightening move,” a Kansas City judge ordered SNAP to turn over records to an accused priest (Fr. Michael Tierney) but let the group redact victims’ names, citing a Missouri statute that protects staff and clients of rape crisis centers. In that case, editorials in the New York Times, The Washington Post, the National Catholic Reporter and the Post-Dispatch backed SNAP’s position.
The pending case, brought in federal court, is overseen by Judge Carol Jackson. She has set a March 2017 trial date.
The organization has publicly asked Archbishop Robert Carlson to stop Fr. Jiang from using “these intimidating, hardball legal maneuvers.”
And SNAP is begging anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by the priest to “call police now so that kids can be protected.”