MO- New SLU president should disclose predators
For immediate release: Friday, Oct. 3, 2014
Victims appeal to new SLU president
SNAP “Tell students & staff about abusive clerics”
SNAP: University has “long, sad history” of hiding predators
An ex-SLU head sexually exploited a 20 year old college student
Another admitted child molesting cleric works & lives across the street
A third was criminally charged in 2004 for sodomizing a St. Louis boy
A support group for clergy sex abuse victims is urging the new president of St. Louis University to disclose that several abusive priests have worked at the school and that an admitted child molesting cleric priest lives and works and lives on the edge of the campus.
One is a fugitive and another is a former SLU president, the group notes
Today, Dr. Fred P. Pestello will installed as the head of SLU. The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) wants him to “come clean” about “proven, admitted and credibly accused” current and former university staffers who have faced child sex or sexual misconduct allegations.
SNAP is most concerned about Fr. Vincent W. Bryce who, according to a Chicago newspaper and internet searches, works at the Aquinas Institute and lives in a Jesuit building at the corner of Grand and Lindell, both directly across from the SLU campus) despite the fact that he told his Catholic supervisor that he had molested at least one child.
The group is also concerned about Fr. Daniel O’Connell who is believed to still be living in St. Louis. According to the New York Times, he “was accused of sexually assaulting a 20-year-old college student in 1983. His Jesuit supervisors “found the accusation credible,” paid her a $181,000 settlement. and agreed to remove O'Connell “from a teaching post at another Jesuit institution” and bar him “from public ministry.”
Besides Fr. Bryce and Fr. O’Connell, the others proven, admitted or credibly accused abusive clerics to be or have been at SLU are Fr. Franklyn W. Becker, Fr. Juan Carlos Duran, Fr. Charles H. Miller, Fr. Gerhardt B. Lehmkuhl, Fr. Eugene Maio, Fr. John Slowey, Fr. John J. “Jack” Campbell, Fr. Edward F. Beutner, Fr. Chester E. Gaiter, and Fr. Thomas J. Naughton.
Three admitted their offenses (Fr. Bryce, Fr. Becker and Fr. Lehmkuhl). Five are deceased (Fr. Slowey, Fr. Lehmkuhl, Fr. Gaiter, Fr. Beutner and Fr. Naughton).
One priest, Fr. Duran, was charged in a 2004 arrest warrant by St. Louis prosecutors with sodomizing a boy here between 1999 and 2002. He also allegedly engaged in sexual misconduct while at St. Louis University.
Fr. Duran is believed to be a fugitive, having allegedly returned to Colombia, his native country. One of his victims was paid a $2 million settlement and Memphis plaintiff's attorney Gary K. Smith said that Fr. Duran had been in St. Louis, Miami, Panama and another country, leaving complaints or suspicions in his wake,” according to the Commercial Appeal.
Fr. Naughton's presence at SLU was publicly disclosed by SNAP earlier this year.
All of the clerics are listed on the website of an independent archive group called BishopAccountability.org. The site has some of their photos (including Fr. O'Connell and Fr. Bryce) and links to church documents, litigation and mainstream news accounts of their wrongdoing and alleged wrongdoing.
In 2002, after allegations against him surfaced publicly, Fr. Bryce resigned from two parishes in the Grand Rapids Michigan diocese.
This took place after Bryce was confronted about his crimes by church authorities who had learned of them through St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson (651 227 9990, 612 817 8665 cell, jeff@andersonadvocates.). A settlement was paid to the victim.
Besides his library job, Bryce has also been listed as “guest master” at the St. Louis Dominican Priory (3601 Lindell Blvd., 633-4400).
Both the priory’s website and the library’s website have photos and e mail addresses of other staff but not of Bryce. Some information about Bryce was removed after SNAP publicly exposed him in 2007.
"It's wrong and reckless for SLU administrators to keep information about these child predators secret," said Barbara Dorris. "Right now, SLU students and staff could be at risk. And right now, one or two or ten SLU alums who may have been assaulted by one of these clerics may well be suffering in shame, silence and self-blame."
"Catholic officials repeatedly claim they're "open and transparent" about clergy sex crimes and cover ups. But the truth is that they aren't, unless someone forces their hand,” said David Clohessy, director of SNAP.
Both Clohessy and Dorris say that SLU is among “the most secretive Catholic institutions regarding abuse.”
"I don't know that they've ever voluntarily disclosed any information about any one on campus - now or in years past - who has sexually assaulted innocent children or vulnerable adults," said Dorris.
“We hope Dr. Pestello will show real courage and compassion by working hard to prevent future crimes and cover ups and find and help other victims who continue to suffer in silence, shame and self-blame,' said Dorris.
“We're willing to meet with him and discuss any or all of this,” said Clohessy. “We'd love to share some thoughts, based on our 25 years of experience, on how to better keep students and staff safe.”
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.