Fact Sheet on Church Center where McCarrick Currently Lives

For decades, hundreds of proven predator priests have been sent – and continue to be sent - to the controversial, secretive Catholic center outside St. Louis where ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick now lives.

Here are some facts about the Vianney Renewal Center.

  • It imports child molesting clerics from all across the US has attracted very little national attention.
  • It’s just a few miles from another similar church facility for child molesting clerics, called RECON.
  • It’s ‘the fox watching the chicken coop,’ since it’s run by the same discredited group of Catholic priests who’ve claimed for decades that they can cure Catholic priests who are predators (the Servants of the Paraclete).
  • It houses “the worst of the worst,” many of the most prolific and notorious predator priests in history.
  • It’s been publicly blasted by several neighbors for secrecy, lax security and lowering property values.
  • At least two former staffers have been highly criticized Vianney officials for the same concerns.
  • It’s had a few child molesting clerics living there for decades.
  • It’s had at least one cleric arrested for child porn while at the Center.
  • It houses some predators who defense lawyers and church officials convinced judges would be best sent to Vianney rather than traditional, government-run facilities. (An argument they make: Vianney saves taxpayers’ money.)
  • promptly report predators to police,
    fully cooperate with prosecutors,

More details are below. But two quick clarifications first.

1) There would, of course, be far less need for these inherently problematic church-run centers, if bishops would

  • promptly report predators to police,
  • fully cooperate with prosecutors,
  • back (instead of fight) statutes of limitations reform, and
  • use their vast resources to prod other victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to come forward,

These common sense public safety steps would lead to more abusive priests being prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned.

2) It’s obviously better to have known offenders supervised than not. But Catholic officials don’t and can’t do this well. If they were more concerned about public safety, and less concerned with ‘damage control,’ they’d hire independent, non-Catholic professionals to house and treat child molesting clerics.

Here are some of the proven predators who have been sent – almost always in secrecy - to Vianney:

--One was convicted of molesting several boys, five of whom took their own lives (Fr. Robert K. Larson of Kansas, whose crimes made page one of the New York Times).



--One admitted molesting hundreds of youngsters (Fr. James McGreal of Seattle).


--One admits having roughly 100 victims (Fr. Ruben Martinez of California).


--One was wanted last year on charges of sexually violating as many as 50 children (Fr. Richard Thomas Brown of Texas).


--One is now on a state sex offender registry and followed the same path as McCarrick – first to a church center in rural Kansas, then to Vianney (Fr. Ronald Gilardi of Salina).


--One admitted repeatedly sexually abusing a five-year-old boy (Fr. Barry J. Ryan of New York and Alabama).



--One, an admitted predator, who walked away from the Center and lived unsupervised 750 feet from a grade school and a preschool. He dressed like Santa, sported a long white beard and red “long johns” and tried to give candy to children. Neighbors reported that he often sat on his porch wearing nothing but a bathrobe, inviting nearby kids into his apartment (Fr. William Wiebler of Iowa).



--One is accused of sexually assaulting at least fourteen boys and plead guilty to raping at least two of them (Fr. James F. Talbot of Maine and Massachusetts).




--One, a Jesuit, reportedly abused kids at a Native American boarding school (Brother James Gates of Washington and Michigan).



--One admitted molesting at least one child, according to a grand jury report (Fr. Robert J. Gibson of Pennsylvania).


--One was found guilty of distributing child pornography and possessing child porn with intent to distribute it (Brother Robert Brouillette of Illinois). After getting out of the center, he lived unsupervised in the St. Louis area.



--One, a high school teacher and boys' camp director, was criminally convicted at least twice and faced at least 16 civil lawsuits (Fr. Richard McCormick who worked in Massachusetts, Indiana, New York, Louisiana, Florida and Ohio).


--One was accused in the mid-1980s of molesting a boy on a military base in Iceland (Fr. Carl Peltz of Virginia, Montana, Missouri and Ohio).


--One lived at the Center for 20 years after being accused in civil lawsuits of molesting at least three children (Fr. Joseph Shannon of New Jersey).


--At least two others also lived at the Center for decades (convicted serial predators Fr. Thomas S. Schaefer and Fr. Alphonsus Smith of Maryland).


--A former staffer/whistleblower from the Vianney Center:


And just down the road a few miles from Vianney is RECON, another church-owned facility for child molesting clerics, including

--David Nickerson of Wisconsin who admitted abusing a youngster who was also abused by his family members and who grew up to be an abuser himself.


--Brother Gerald Chumik, a Franciscan friar and admitted child molester who was been a fugitive from his native Canada for 14 years.

-Fr. Mark Roberts of Las Vegas, another admitted repeat sex offender.

RECON has repeatedly changed its name over the past 30 years or so.

For decades, to no avail, we have repeatedly prodded several St. Louis archbishops to either stop importing dangerous child molesting clerics and/or at least be open about who’s being sent to these facilities.

David Clohessy 314 566 9790, davidgclohessy@gmail.com 

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