MO -- Victims praise ruling vs. Chaminade in child sex case
For immediate release: Wednesday, March 25
We are grateful that a judge is letting a child sex abuse and cover up lawsuit proceed against the Marianists, a St. Louis-based Catholic religious order that runs three local schools (Chaminade and Vianney in the county and St. Mary’s in the city).
The case involves Brother Louis J. Meinhardt who was at Chaminade for 30 years. He was publicly exposed as a child molesting cleric for the first time in 2012 and faces at least 15 accusers.
At least 31 members of the Marianists are proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesters, according to an investigative report in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. Of these 31 Marianists, at least eight worked or allegedly abused in St. Louis.
There are at least 157 accusers.
And even now, the Marianists continue to protect predators. They include
– Fr. Charles H. Miller who assaulted a St. Louis girl and was quietly sent to Rome after allegations against him surfaced in St. Louis (and were deemed “credible” by church officials). He is still on the job in the literal and figurative power center of Catholicism, where millions of unsuspecting young people and their families visit every year. (Keep in mind: it takes only seconds for a priest to shove his tongue in a girl's mouth or his hand down a boy's pants.)
– Fr. William Christensen who worked and abused in St. Louis and who's accused of molesting at least 30 kids in Bangladesh (and may still be there now).
--Br. William Mueller who worked and abused in St. Louis and who's accused of molesting dozens of kids in three states (and still lives in Texas now).
Catholic officials will stress that the latter two have been defrocked. But they've never shown evidence of this. And the Marianists have made no efforts whatsoever to help law enforcement pursue any of their clerics.
At least eight local Marianists have been publicly named as credibly accused pedophiles – Fr. Miller, Fr. Christensen, Fr. Robert R. Osborne, Brother Mueller, Fr. Daniel A. Triulzi, Brother Tony Pistone, Br. John Woulfe and Meinhardt. (All but Miller worked at Chaminade.) Abuse lawsuits have been settled against Triulzi, Osborne and Mueller.
Fr. Martin Solma and his colleagues should be ashamed of themselves for continuing to try to exploit legal loopholes to deny victims their day in court and help those who commit and conceal heinous crimes against children.
We are deeply grateful to the brave victims of these clerics, including Chris Wimmer of St. Louis and Bryan Bacon of Columbia, for their success in exposing the corruption in the Marianists and for protecting children from them.
We urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes - by Marianists or other Catholic entities – to find the courage to call police, expose wrongdoers, protect kids and start healing.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 18,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.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.