MO--Six predator priests “outed” for first time
Six predator priests “outed” for first time
All worked in Catholic dioceses Missouri or Illinois
They’re “credibly accused child molesters,” church admits
Long secret records about them were just released this week
More hidden documents will be disclosed in the months ahead
Two of them were in this area as recently as three & six years ago
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will
--disclose the names of six predator priests who’ve never been “outed” here before,
--discuss just-released and soon-to-be-released secret records about them, and
--provide their photos and work histories
They will also
-- prod anyone who was hurt by the priests to speak up and get help, and
-- prod Catholic officials in St. Louis, Belleville and Springfield to “come clean” with more information about the priests and aggressively seek out their victims.
TODAY, Wednesday, July 8 at 2:00 p.m. (rain or shine)
On the sidewalk outside the Belleville diocese headquarters (“chancery office”), 222 South Third St. in
Three-four individuals who belong to
--a support group called the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), and/or
--a Catholic reform group called Faithful of Southern Illinois (FOSIL)
Records about seven predator priests who worked in the St. Louis area are being released as part of a lawsuit settlement. Only one of the priests has been publicly exposed in this area as credibly accused child molesters until now. One lived in Belleville as recently as 2012. Another was there until 2009. Two of them also spent time in the St. Louis archdiocese and three were in the Springfield-Cape diocese.
One of them spent seven decades as a priest in this area. From the 1940s until six years ago, Fr. James Vincent Fitzgerald split his time between six states including assignments in at least three towns in Illinois towns and two in Missouri.
The two who worked in St. Louis archdiocese are Fr. Robert J. Reitmeier (at Holy Guardian Angels Parish) and Fr. Fitzgerald (at St. Michael’s Community).
The five priests who worked in the Belleville diocese are:
Fr. Thomas Meyer worked in Belleville, Alton and Mansfield, MO.
Fr. Emil Twardochleb was in Belleville and Henry, IL.
Fr. Michael Charland was in Belleville, Sparta, Godfrey, and Carthage, MO.
Fr. Orville Munie was in Belleville, Toluca, Mendota, Bethany and Campus, IL.
Fr. Paul Kabat worked in Belleville.
More details about each of the predators and their specific work histories in Missouri and Illinois (including dates, parishes and photos) will be provided at the news conference and/or is available at AndersonAdvocates.com
Each priest belonged or belongs to a Belleville-based religious order called the Oblates (1-888-330-6264, firstname.lastname@example.org). It operates the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville.
SNAP and FOSIL believe it’s likely others who were hurt by these priests are “still suffering in shame, silence and self-blame.” The groups want St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson and Belleville Bishop Edward Braxton to “use parish bulletins, church websites and pulpit announcements” to “aggressively seek out and offer help to these wounded victims.”
The records release is part of a settlement in a civil lawsuit brought in Minnesota against the Oblates by a man who reports having been molested by Fr. Fitzgerald. The settlement involved only the Oblates, so the case against the dioceses of Duluth and New Ulm (where the seven also worked) continues. So more long-hidden church records will be divulged in the months ahead.
The attorneys who represent the victim in this case are Jeff Anderson 651 227 9990, 612 817 8665 cell) and Mike Finnegan (651 227 9990). They have also handled clergy sex cases in Belleville and St. Louis.
(Three of the priests also spent time in the Springfield-Cape Girardeau diocese. Fr. Fitzgerald in Gainesville, Fr. Charland in Carthage and Fr. Meyer in Mansfield.)
Fr. Reitmeier and Fr. Charland are alive. (The latter is a psychologist in the Twin Cities area.) The other five are deceased. http://www.mprnews.org/story/2015/07/07/oblate-names-released
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.