- Victims blast Chaminade over abuse
- "Years late,” new child molesting cleric is “outed”
- He worked for three decades at west county Catholic school
- Now, seven local clerics from one religious order are accused
- But school officials only reluctantly wrote to one group of alums
- SNAP criticizes “late and deceptive” letters that “ignore police”
- Group suspects that Catholic staffers knew of allegation for years
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will release a new letter from a local Catholic official admitting that two ex-Chaminade teachers have been accused of child sex crimes. (One of them has never been publicly accused of molesting kids before). The victims will also blast school and church officials for
-- not disclosing the allegations for months or years,
-- not urging others who saw, suspected or suffered crimes to call the police,
-- not contacting alums of other schools where the child molesters spent time and
-- not listing, in the letter, the names of five other credibly accused child molesters who worked at the school.
TODAY, Tuesday, February 7 at 11:00 a.m.
Outside Marianists headquarters, 4425 West Pine Blvd. (near corner of Newstead Ave.) in St. Louis’ CWE
Several clergy sex abuse victims who are also members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)
In a letter sent on 1/17/12, allegedly sent to hundreds of Chaminade alums, a local Catholic official admits that child sex abuse allegations have been levied against Brother Louis Meinhardt who spent roughly 31 years at the school and who has never been publicly accused before. (SNAP however has heard similar accusations for years from several other men.) The letter is from Fr. Martin A. Solma (email@example.com) who is the head of the Marianist religious order (which runs Chaminade and other Catholic schools). It also mentions allegations against Brother John J. Woulfe, who has been sued before for abusing kids.
Until SNAP sent notices out yesterday about today’s news conference, neither Chaminade nor the Marianists, nor Archbishop Robert Carlson notified parishioners or the public about the alleged perpetrators. And until a victim prodded them to act, neither Chaminae nor the Marianists nor Archbishop Carlson notified alums.
At least five other local Marianists have been publicly named as credibly accused pedophiles – Fr. William Christensen, Fr. Robert R. Osborne, Brother William Mueller, Fr. Daniel A. Triulzi, and Brother Tony Pistone. Each has faced one or more civil lawsuits. Child sex abuse suits against Triulzi, Osborne and Mueller has been settled. The Marianists run Chaminade, Vianney and St. Mary’s high schools in St. Louis.
Twice, Meinhardt taught and coached at Chaminade: from 1941-1948 and again from 1958-1982. He died in 1990. Woulfe worked at Chaminade in the 1970s. Woulfe also worked at DeSmet.
SNAP wants the Marianists to explain why they did not disclose these allegations sooner and aggressively seek out anyone else who may have seen, suspected, or suffered the clerics’ crimes. They are also urging the Marianists to write to alums any other institutions where the two spent time. (This should have been done, SNAP says, when the allegations was first received). And in all outreach notices, SNAP says, Archbishop Carlson should insist that ALL seven credibly accused Marianists should be listed.
Fr. Solma, the Marianist provincial, is at firstname.lastname@example.org, 533-1207. Chaminade is at 425 S Lindbergh Blvd.) St. Louis lawyer Gerald Noce, 480 4160, represents the Marianists. Clayton attorney Ken Chackes (872 8420, email@example.com)
Both Meinhardt and Woulfe are now deceased. A photo of Woulfe is available at BishopAccountability.org