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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
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, weve asked Fr. Biondi to warn students and staff about these men. Weve asked him to disclose how many other predator priests are being housed at the university. Weve 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. Weve 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 were appealing to you to act.
Specifically, if nothing else, we ask you to arrange and participate in a public discussion of the universitys 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, thats 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 schools "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
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 & youre 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 Bryces 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. Hes 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
Why this matters
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?
How you can help
For more information: