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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Letters

Letter to Sam Simon, St. Louis University public safety director

May 13, 2009

Dear Mr. Simon:

We are a tiny non-profit with a staff of four across the US. We have no subpoena powers. There are no investigators on our staff. We aren't police officers or Internet experts.

But with minimal effort, just using "WhitePages.com" and "Google," and BishopAccountability.org, we've found seven proven, admitted and credibly accused sex offender clergymen who either work or worked at St. Louis University. All have been publicly exposed in recent years, in unrefuted accounts in reputable, mainstream media, none by the University.

For months now, we’ve asked Fr. Biondi to warn students and staff about these men. We’ve asked him to disclose how many other predator priests are being housed at the university. We’ve asked him to alert the public that an admitted predator, Fr. Vincent Bryce, works at the Aquinas Institute, directly across the street from the university. We’ve asked him to help spread the word about a fugitive priest, Fr. Juan Carlos Duran, who may have fled the US to avoid law enforcement and who stands accused of recent child sex crimes.

Fr. Biondi has ignored our pleas. But you are a former policeman. You have 23 years of experience fighting crime. Presumably, you know that even charming, educated and elderly men who molest kids or watch child porn are extremely likely to re-offend. Presumably, you know that advanced age is no ‘cure’ for pedophilia. Presumably, you understand citizens need information to protect themselves and their families. Presumably, you realize that secrecy and deception erode public trust and eventually jeopardize public safety. So we’re appealing to you to act.

Specifically, if nothing else, we ask you to arrange and participate in a public discussion of the university’s practice of quietly letting sex offenders live on campus and letting at least one work near campus. A university, of all places, should welcome and encourage vigorous public debate, especially on a subject as crucial as public safety. We beg you to help set this up and let a healthy public discussion take place.

If Fr. Biondi wants to secretly house sex offenders, that’s his right of course. But as a former police officer, we would hope your commitment to public safety would be firm. When you took the St. Louis University job, you publicly cited the school’s "rich tradition in public safety." You vowed to “improve public safety" at the university. We hope you will live up to your promise.

We look forward to hearing from you.

David Clohessy & Barbara Dorris
SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
7234 Arsenal Street, St. Louis MO 63143 (314 566 9790)


Three predator priests live here

Fr. Vincent W. Bryce, Fr. Chester E. Gaiter and Fr. Gerhardt B. Lehmkuhl all live at Jesuit Hall (northwest corner of Lindell & Grand)

-- Bryce is an admitted molester, according to news accounts. In 2002, he was suspended from two Michigan parishes because of abuse allegations. Despite a national ‘one strike & you’re out’ policy, church and university officials let Bryce work as a librarian at the Aquinas Institute (23 S. Spring). Neither SLU nor church officials announced or disclosed Bryce’s history, nor explained why they opted to let him live and work here. (http://www.ai.edu/contact/directory.php)

-- Gaiter is an accused molester. He’s been sued at least twice for child sexual abuse (one such lawsuit was just settled). He taught at Cardinal Ritter High School and worked at churches in East St. Louis, north St. Louis and Los Angeles.

-- Lehmkuhl pled guilty and was sentenced in 1996 to one year in prison for receiving child porn in the mail.

Four others used to live here
They are Fr. Charles Miller, Fr. Juan Carlos Duran, Fr. Eugene Maio, and Fr. Jack Campbell. The latter three have been sued for child sex crimes. Miller’s supervisors, the Marianists, admit he’s been ‘credibly accused.’ Duran is a fugitive who’s fled overseas. Last month, SNAP learned that Duran, was accused of making lewd gestures and watching kids undress in the locker room of the SLU swimming pool and gym in the 1990s.

Why this matters
First, child molesters are rarely ‘cured.’ No matter how old or ill they may be (or claim to be), predators are usually manipulative, cunning and determined. And even teenagers and young adults can be vulnerable to shrewd sex offenders.

Second, there may be students or staff who saw, suspected or heard about crimes by these men. They should be prodded to share what they know with law enforcement so that criminals might be prosecuted and children might be protected.

Third, students or staff here may have been hurt by one or more of these men. They deserve consolation and comfort. And the university community deserves the truth about these potentially dangerous men and their crimes.

Fourth, Catholic officials have promised to be ‘open and transparent’ about clergy sex crimes. But SLU administrators have disclosed virtually nothing about these predators. (If they're silent about these four, how many others are they hiding?)

Who's the most problematic?
Perhaps Fr. Duran, who is an admitted molester and is accused of lewd and inappropriate behavior at the SLU swimming pool and locker room in the 1990s.

How you can help
--- be careful around these men,
--- warn others about them,
--- ask staff and students if they’ve seen suspicious behavior by them, and
--- urge Jesuit and SLU officials to disclose the identities of any other proven, admitted or credibly accused pedophile priests who live/lived in or around the university.
--- ask Fr. Biondi (SLU president) and Sam Simon (SLU public safety director) to hold a public discussion with us about their decision to secretly house sex offenders on campus.)

For more information:
SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org),
David Clohessy 566-9790 (SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
For information about these seven men, see BishopAccountability.org

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