MO--Victims hit with “unprecedented” court order

MO--Victims hit with “unprecedented” court order

Victims hit with “unprecedented” court order

Group resists complying, citing members’ privacy and safety fears

SNAP faces potential "contempt of court” for protecting victims

In unique case, a twice-accused priest alleges 6 person “conspiracy

But support group says “We just can’t disclose crime victims’ names

SNAP: “To do so so would violate victims', witnesses' and others' privacy rights”


WHAT

Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will disclose that

--a St. Louis judge has ordered SNAP to turn over abuse victims’ names to a twice-accused predator priest,

--never in its nearly 30 year history has the group been hit with such “a broad and troubling court ruling,”

--it has already turned over “hundreds of pages” of emails (with many names redacted), but

--it fears if it does not comply it will soon be found “in contempt” and sanctioned by the judge for not disclosing information containing victims’ names    

The organization will also prod Archbishop Robert Carlson to stop the priest 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.”

WHEN

Thursday, July 21 at 1:30 p.m.

WHERE

On the sidewalk outside the Catholic Cathedral 4431 Lindell (near Taylor) in St. Louis’ Central West End

WHO

A small group of abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

WHY

In a ruling that SNAP calls “unprecedented" in its history, this week, a federal judge in St. Louis ordered that SNAP must give a twice-accused predator priest 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 the substantive requirements of Missouri law that it maintain such information confidential, only to be disclosed if the victims consent in writing, which has not occurred.  Snap fears rulings such as this will deter other crime victims from reporting criminals and place victims, their families and witnesses in potential peril.

A year ago, an archdiocesan priest filed a lawsuit alleging defamation and a “a conspiracy” by SNAP, prosecutors, two police officers and the parents of a boy, to deprive the priest of his civil rights by making false reports of child sex crimes and to seek financial damages from a jury against SNAP and the others.

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/federal-lawsuit-filed-by-st-louis-priest-cleared-of-child/article_b13a09e4-e683-56ad-a5b6-0ff5bacbd667.html

The priest, Fr. Xiu Hui “Joseph” Jiang, has been criminally charged in two eastern Missouri counties with molesting a boy and a girl. He is, to SNAP's knowledge, the only alleged child-molesting cleric to ever file such “patently ridiculous” claims, SNAP says, and it appears he is 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 its filings, SNAP contends that the alleged “conspiracy” 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 contends 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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_lawsuit_against_public_participation

“This is a serious threat to other groups that serve victims of domestic and sexual violence and other crimes,” said David Clohessy of SNAP. “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 Barbara Dorris of SNAP. “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.

And SNAP wants Carlson to order Fr. Jiang to “drop this intimidating hurtful, legal maneuver.”

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).

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2015/05_06/2015_06_17_Salter_ChildAbuse.htm

In 2012, in a similar but “less intrusive and 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.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/14/opinion/hurting-advocates-of-victims-abused-by-priests.html?_r=1&ref=opinion

http://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-passivity-of-the-catholic-church/2012/05/06/gIQAJgAU6T_story.html

https://www.ncronline.org/news/accountability/snap-subpoenas-harm-key-ally-victims?_ga=1.6417787.859034702.1458828391

http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/columns/the-platform/editorial-missouri-high-court-oks-harassment-of-priest-victims-group/article_2a3f1441-b6d0-57f8-821d-90669ec8b82a.html

The pending case, brought in federal court, is overseen by Judge Carol Jackson. She has set a March 2017 trial date.

Fr. Jiang is represented by John Sauer (jsauer@clarksauer.com, clangeneckert@clarksauer.com, ksuermann@clarksauer.com). SNAP is represented, pro bono, by Amy Lorenz-Moser (312 4980, amy@carpentermoser.com) and Dan Carpenter (dan@carpentermoser.com).

Justin Assouad (241 6160, JLA@heplerbroom.com) and Gerard Noce (241 6160, GTN@heplerbroom.com) represents Archbishop Carlson. Fr. Jiang’s criminal attorney is Paul D’Agrosa (725 8443, paul@wolffdagrosa.com). One of Jiang’s alleged victims (the Lincoln County girl) is represented by Ken Chackes (369 3902 cell, kchackes@cch-law.com) and Nicole Gorovsky (872 8420, ngorovsky@cch-law.com).

Copies of the judge’s order will be available at the news conference.

Contact:

David Clohessy 314 566 9790, davidgclohessy@gmail.com, Barbara Dorris 314 503 0003, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org   

Comments

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  • commented 2016-09-23 14:22:19 -0500
    The behavior of the Catholic Church is no better than any other mega-institution with abuse accusations lodged against them. Think of Penn State and the crimes of Jerry Sandusky. The university attempted to downplay their culpability in the face of overwhelming evidence that crimes were committed by one of their own. While the Church has defended itself against accusations of clergy sexual abuse, it’s behavior is made even more repugnant by the claims it has made for itself over centuries. The Catholic Church claims that they know the purpose of life; how the entire universe works; and most arrogant of all, what God wants from us. They incessantly make the assertion that Catholic priests are God’s representatives on earth. In addition, the Church claims complete domain over our sex lives constantly dictating to us what is acceptable behavior. Not content to control our physical sexuality, their totalitarian demands domain over very thoughts on sex.

    Who can take this seriously? Who can honestly defend the Church’s position? When a victim of corporate abuse is made known, we all sympathize. Who among us could ever mount an adequate defense against such a tidal wave of legal force? And so it is with the Catholic Church. Despite it’s lofty claims, this institution is no better than any secular organization.

    I personally, have encountered the roadblock due to the statute of limitations. I was abused in the early 1960’s and so far, despite the best efforts of my council, we are stopped from seeking justice due to these laws. It is the intention of such statutes to protect the accused after a number of years regarding witness testimony. But the Church is hiding behind these laws to protect their treasure and and their shining reputation in the society. To many priests, God’s representatives on earth, have committed crimes against innocent people in violation of the Church’s own laws. What clear thinking individual can disagree with these truths?

    It is time that relief was given to the thousands of abuse victims. We must advocate the reformation of SOL codes so that we can at least pursue justice.

    John M. Merryman
  • commented 2016-07-27 13:33:35 -0500
    I posted my comment before editing and finishing. I am sorry.
    1victims cannot bring charges when they are ready due to the statute of limitations
    2. Now, they would have any sense of security be taken away when looking for support.
    3. How many times can we honestly expect people to be able to recover from being raped or and over again by the same orginizationit.
  • commented 2016-07-27 13:28:16 -0500
    I can’t believe that victims have to be subject to more abuse by a system that already protects abusers. The Catholic Church has told of the payments they have HAD to make to victims. Have they disclosed what they have willing payed to defend their Brothers and Sisters in Christ? I have heard of so very little respite for the victim of these heinous crimes. Has there been discussion of the reason it takes so long for a victim to report? The aftermath these evil acts causes? Has the Roman Catholic Church spoke of the intensity of Post Tramatic Stress Disorder that occurs later due to the moral degradation and spiritual deprecation this leaves? The one place victims feel they can breath , They can have a moment of not living in solitude, possibly begin some type of acknowledgement ,and might possibly start healing, an organization so small in size comparatively and is committed to try and minister to their shunned flock is now going to be attacked. I have heard the Roman Catholic Church say they do not take money from individual Parishes for defense. I have seen this in print in parish Billikens and have heard it preached from the pulpit. I have not heard where the funding does come from. Can anyone answer ? Can someone explain to me why this type of defense is not only funded but justified? I don’t get it. Why defend this immoral act and at what cost? Do Roman Catholics realize the reason this unpleasant subject doesn’t go away is because there hasn’t been a solution. There has only been an acknowledgement. How can an apology be accepted when the institution continues to fund ,only more road blocks . Children who suffered rape, by the very people parents trusted to nurture, educate and spiritually lead can’t even have their day in court. Is it really possibile that an orginizationit can be so large and powerful it can corrupt our court system? Am I the only one who wonders whas been set up to heal and nurture a broken soul by The Roman Catholic Church? What has the Church put in place to help victims? Let’s imagine some therapy or perhaps a lovely place to sit and meditate such as a healing garden. Maybe they have planned a spiritual event such as a mass or prayer service. Is that really restitution? Sorry for your troubles kid, seems as effective to this misguided soul. With this kind of action to further violate the trust of the abused or the one to block the statutes of limitations , so victims are under a time constraint with an injury that affects the brain, maturation of the individual, without the emotional devastation being considered, how could the Roman Catholic Church possibly think it’s victims could feel cared about. I have so many questions. What is the mission of this non for profit, corporation sole? I have not even mentioned the spiritual and moral devistation of this crime.
    I say the Roman Catholic Church , but not in exclusion to any other large organization that continues to wound their wounded. Here is an example yet again when the very people who should be helped are harmed. Does the Roman Catholic Church believe that victims who might only have a musters seed of self worth left and have found the little bit of strength to stand upright for themselves and seek justice, are also out to unfairly challenge The USA Constitution. I Can only think they must. Why else would the Roman Catholic Church spend ( although I don’t know how much) to make sure that victims are unable to bring claim when they are ready. justice challenging thlike it they may be heard
  • commented 2016-07-21 18:14:59 -0500
    The victims rights to to privacy must be protected. This will set precedent and will keep other future whistleblowers and victims from coming forward. Lives are at stake here. Many lives have already been lost. We do not need anymore. Protect the victims privacy rights.
    Sincerely, John Duffin.
  • @ tweeted this page. 2016-07-21 08:18:49 -0500