MO--The 50th local St. L area abusive priest is sued
The 50th local St. Louis area abusive priest is sued
Cleric has never been accused or sued before
The victim, Tom Viviano, speaks publicly for 1st time
Two other priests, man says, saw but didn’t stop the crimes
SNAP to others: “Even if perpetrator is dead, it’s important to speak up”
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, a clergy sex abuse victim will speak for the first time publicly and disclose that
--his new child sex abuse and cover up case is being filed,
--it “outs” a never-before-accused local Catholic priest, and
--at least two other priests saw the abuse happened but did not stop it.
Leaders of SNAP will also
--note that this alleged priest is the 50th local predator priest to be publicly accused of child sex crimes,
-- beg victims of predators – living or deceased - to NOT contact church or school officials, but instead to contact independent sources of help, like therapists, law enforcement and support groups, and
--urge St. Louis’ archbishop to post predator priests’ names on church websites, “for the safety of kids and the healing of victims.”
TODAY, Tuesday, June 21, 2016 at 1:30 p.m.
Outside the Catholic Cathedral, 4431 Lindell (near Taylor) in the city’s CWE
A Missouri man and St. Louis native, Tom Viviano, who is filing a lawsuit and speaking publicly for the first time about the abuse he suffered, along with three-four members of an international support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)
1) With the filing of this new case, 50 priests who work/worked or live/lived in the St. Louis archdiocese are now proven, admitted or credibly accused child molesters, according to an independent website called BishopAccountability.org.
Tom Viviano’s new civil child sex abuse and cover up suit accuses a now-deceased priest, Fr. Charles M. DeGuire, with repeatedly molesting a boy in the in the 1960s at St. Aloysius Gonzaga, a now-closed parish on the Hill in south St. Louis City. The crimes started in 1967 when he was roughly ten and in the fifth grade. The crimes happened on church grounds, in church buildings and a boat with other boys and two other clerics – a Fr. Kearnan and Fr. Morris or Morrisey – present.
The suit says at one point “an individual walked in on Fr. DeGuire’s abuse, finding (the boy) on his knees in front of (the priest) at the parish.”
Fr. DeGuire also worked at our Lady of Lourdes parish in University City. He has passed away and is believed to have retired in the 1970s after living at Regina Cleri in Shrewsbury.
St. Louis lawyers Tom Buckley and Gerald Noce (480 4160) represents accused Catholic officials.
Kansas City attorney Rebecca Randles, 816 931 9901, firstname.lastname@example.org, represents Viviano and has represented dozens of abuse victims across Missouri and Kansas. Several months ago, she represented a young woman settled her abuse case for $181,000 and her unusual “breach of contract” case for $82,000. It involved sexual exploitation by former president of St. Louis University president Fr. Daniel O’Connell, who SNAP believes lives in the Central West End now.
Today’s case, filed in St. Louis City circuit court, is titled Tom Viviano vs. the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of
2) About 30 US bishops (out of almost 200) have posted predator priests’ names on their websites. But none of Missouri’s four bishops have done so, and only two of Illinois’ six bishops have done so, SNAP says.
This is especially problematic, the group maintains, because several Catholic facilities near St. Louis house and reportedly ‘treat’ child molesting clerics from across the US and have done so, largely in secrecy, for decades.
Bishops admit that 6,528 US priests are accused of abuse (almost six percent of the total). An independent archive group, BishopAccountability.org, identifies nearly 4,000 alleged predator priests by name (including 55 in St. Louis) but says that 2,800 US priests who are accused of molesting kids have not been publicly identified.
“We’re grateful for the attention being paid to the film ‘Spotlight,’ said SNAP outreach director Barbara Dorris. “But bishops are hiding the names of 43% of the US accused predator priests. More ‘spotlights’ need to be shown on those who commit and conceal these awful crimes so that kids can be protected.”
For “the protection of kids, the healing of victims and the health of the church,” SNAP is also urging Archbishop Robert Carlson to post on church websites the names, photos, whereabouts and work histories of all proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics who live/lived or work/worked here.
In January, Seattle’s archbishop posted names of 77 predator priests.
Last month, bishops in Altoona PA and Baltimore MD posted predators’ names.
“For the safety of kids and the health of the church, we want bishops to reveal and post on their websites the names of all the proven, admitted and credibly accused predator priests whose identities remain hidden,” said David Clohessy of SNAP. “Hundreds or thousands of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting priests, nuns, bishops, seminarians and other church workers now live - and sometime work - among unaware, trusting and vulnerable neighbors and colleagues. That’s a reckless recipe for repeated crimes.”
“All bishops should post all names of proven, admitted and credibly accused clerics,” said Barbara Dorris of SNAP. “This is the quickest, cheapest, easiest, safest way to warn parents, police, prosecutors, parishioners & the public about predators. It’s also the very least bishops should do, since they recruited, educated, ordained, hired, trained, transferred & shielded these predators, often helping them evade prosecution by keeping secrets until legal deadlines expired.”
After being suspended from parishes because of abuse reports, bishops let many predator priests get other jobs, inside or outside the church, where they have access to kids, SNAP says.
“Over the years, dozens of ousted pedophile priests have turned up as coaches, teachers, and social workers – jobs they have no business holding,” said Clohessy. “In Illinois, Ohio, and South Dakota, at least three such clerics have been found living next to day care centers.”
“We also beg all current and former Catholic employees to aggressively seek out others who may have been hurt by abusive priests, nuns, bishops, seminarians, brothers or other church personnel,” said Clohessy. “We’re convinced that thousands who were assaulted, as innocent kids or vulnerable adults, suffer today in silence, shame and self-blame. They need and deserve comfort and healing.”
“Almost without exception, bishops who have posted names have done so under pressure,” said Dorris. “But all bishops should be doing this voluntarily without prodding.”
The list of publicly admitted, proven and credibly accused St. Louis clerics is here: http://www.bishop-accountability.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.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
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.