MO - Victims to hold vigil outside archbishop’s deposition today
Victims to hold vigil outside archbishop’s deposition today
Carlson faces rare questioning this morning in child sex case
He’s accused of evidence tampering with Fr. Jiang’s $20,000 check
SNAP urges him to hold public meeting about “troubling situation”
Holding signs and childhood photos on a sidewalk, a clergy sex abuse victim and two supporters will hold a 30 minute vigil outside the deposition of two top local Catholic officials in an unusual criminal clergy sex abuse case.
They will also
--blast the archbishop’s silence about the serious allegations that he tried to tamper with evidence,
--prod the archbishop to hold an open public meeting about the case, and
--urge him to aggressively seek out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered child sex crimes or cover ups by clergy.
Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013 at 9:45 a.m.
Outside the St. Louis archdiocesan compound on Laclede Station Road (near corner of Elizabeth) in Shewsbury
Three members of a support group called SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), including a St. Louis man who is the group’s long time director
Today, two top archdiocesan officials – Archbishop Robert Carlson and Deacon Phil Hengen, will be deposed by Lincoln County prosecutors about their possible role in covering up child sex crimes by Fr. Joseph Jiang.
SNAP is urging the two to tell the truth, not invoke the Fifth Amendment, and discuss their involvement in the case later in a public meeting at which parishioners can question them.
A civil lawsuit has also been filed against Carlson regarding Jiang. In response to that suit, Carlson has an eight-page legal reply in which he calls “baseless” the charge that he tried to tamper with evidence. (On five other charges, however, Carlson basically argues that he can’t be held responsible even if the allegations in the case are true. Carlson’s lawyers want the entire case against him tossed out.)
The suit charges that Carlson “knew (Fr. Xiu Hui “Joseph” Jiang) was dangerous to children before (a girl) was abused,” last summer, asked the alleged victim’s parents for a $20,000 check the priest had given them, committing “the criminal offense of attempted tampering with evidence,” because he reportedly suggested that the girl’s parents “return to him the check.” (The parents, however, had given it to police.)
SNAP maintains that Carlson is, in fact, NOT directly answering the charges and instead “opting to fight on the technicalities, not on the merits” and “ignoring his promises of openness while adopting maneuvers of defense that cloud, rather than clarify the situation,” as he has in dozens of other, older clergy sex abuse and cover up cases.
According to the suit, 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.”
SNAP believes Carlson should answer questions at an open public meeting at the Cathedral about all six wrongdoers and emphatically beg anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered their crimes or cover ups to call police. For the safety of kids, SNAP also wants Carlson to disclose where Fr. Jiang is now living, especially because of the close ties between the two men.
SNAP is concerned about Deacon Phil Hengen’s role in the Jiang case. He is also being deposed. Hengen purports to “help victims.” But over the years, SNAP says it has received many concerns and complaints by victims about him.
Carlson has largely stayed silent about this disturbing case, SNAP says. His archdiocesan newspaper is ignoring the criminal and civil cases. (Fr. Jiang is mentioned 11 times on the archdiocesan newspaper website. Just one of those stories mentions the credible child sex abuse accusations against the priest. And it’s more than a year old. No story mentions the serious allegations against Carlson. No story mentions the civil lawsuit against Carlson. No story mentions the upcoming depositions. No story mentions where Fr. Jiang is now.)
SNAP is also calling on “every single person who has seen, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups here” to “find the courage to call police, prosecutors, therapists, support groups and other independent sources, so that this horror doesn’t continue.”
The only bishop in the US to be convicted of endangering kids is from St. Louis. He’s Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City. In 2005, he was promoted to Kanas City’s bishop. In September 2012, he was convicted of failing to report a pedophile priest. No church officials have disciplined him.
Court records show that Fr. Jiang was bailed out with $25,000 brought to the jail by Msgr. Richard Hanneke (792-7550, VicarClergy@archstl.org)
Carlson’s lawyers are Justin Assouad (241 6160, JLA@heplerbroom.com) and Gerard Noce (241 6160, GTN@heplerbroom.com). Jiang’s attorney is Paul D’Agrosa (725 8443, firstname.lastname@example.org) . Jiang’s alleged victim is represented – in a civil lawsuit - by Ken Chackes (369 3902, email@example.com).
A photo of Fr. Jiang is available at BishopAccountability.org