SNAP responds to allegations against Marianist priest
We are clergy sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Our mission is to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.
We are here today about two child predators – Brother Louis Meinhardt and Brother John Woulfe. Woulfe has been publicly exposed before. Meinhardt has not. Both are Marianists.
The Marianists run three St. Louis area Catholic schools: Chaminade College Prep, St. John Vianney High School, and St. Mary’s High School. Some Marianists also worked at McBride High School years ago.
Brother Meinhardt is the seventh local Marianists who has been publicly accused of sexual abuse. The others are: Fr. William Christensen, Fr. Robert R. Osborne, Brother William Mueller, Fr. Daniel A. Triulzi, Brother Tony Pistone and Brother Woulfe.
The one we’re worried most about is Christensen. He’s accused of molesting at least one St. Louis boy and dozens of boys in Bangladesh, where he remains today, avoiding punishment for his crimes in the US. In January of 2011, we asked the US District attorney in St. Louis to launch an investigation into Christensen’s crimes. (http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2011/01_02/2011_01_28_Salter_GroupSeeks.htm)
We’ve repeatedly asked the Marianists to bring him back to America and put him in a treatment center away from kids. They have refused.
But today, we’re focused largely on the local church and school hierarchy – Archbishop Robert Carlson, Chaminade, and the Maranists – and their continuing secrecy, deception and bare minimum action in child sex cases.
We are dismayed to learn that Chaminade and Marianist officials received yet another credible accusation against yet another one of their clerics and, months or perhaps years later, when prodded, finally took the absolute minimal step of sending a letter to some their alumni. Why weren’t the police called? Why weren’t more people informed? As previous cases against the Marianists have shown, the abuse was not always confined to one school.
To make matters worse, when the Marianists did finally decide to reach out (a year after the allegation was received) they sent out a deceptive letter that failed to mention five other credibly accused Marianists. Shame on them. It also failed to mention that child sex abuse and cover up allegations should always be reported to law enforcement.We are urging the Marianists and Archbishop Robert Carlson to write to ALL alumni from ALL the Marianist schools in St. Louis – and any other school where one of these seven accused clerics may have spent time. We also want them to include ALL the names of ALL the credibly accused Marianists in any future outreach. We want that outreach to happen regardless of whether or not victims specifically push for it. All these church and school officials – Marianists, Chaminade and the archbishop - should immediately beg any victims of any of these men who may be suffering in silence to report their abuse, protect other kids, help law enforcement and start their healing. It is time to end these minimal, forced, deceptive and self-serving “outreach” attempts, and actually work on protecting children.
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.
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.