MI- Notorious predator priest buried

For immediate release: Sunday, September 7, 2014 

For more information: David Clohessy 314 566 9790, [email protected] 

Notorious predator priest buried 

He was convicted of hurting four boys

Five of his alleged victims killed themselves

Cleric was native of & returned to Iron Mountain

A nationally-known convicted child molesting cleric from Michigan was quietly buried last week in Iron Mountain and a support group is urging anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered his crimes to “get help, speak up, expose wrongdoers, and start healing.”

Fr. Robert K. Larson passed away on Aug. 27. Catholic officials kept this secret, however, until last Friday.

In 2001, Fr. Larson pled guilty to abusing four boys and spent several years in prison. Though five of Fr. Larson's alleged victims took their own lives, he was never defrocked.

According to Fr. Larson's obituary, he “grew up in Iron Mountain and attended Iron Mountain Schools, graduating in 1947 from Iron Mountain High School. He served a year in the U.S. Navy and was honorably discharged to come home to assist his mother and siblings when his father died. Later he attended St. Lawrence College in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin."

“We worry that he may have hurt kids in Michigan, either when he was a teenager or young man, on visits back home after he moved away, or during the years he returned home after being in the Navy,” said Peter Isely of Milwaukee. He's the Midwest Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “We urge anyone who knew Fr. Larson to ask their loved ones if he ever hurt them. If so, we urge them to get therapy or call our support group.”

Fr. Larson worked for 35 years in the Wichita diocese.

“We're sad Wichita Bishop Carl Kemme hid Larson's passing for more than a week, until it was convenient for him to release it,” said David Clohessy of SNAP. “We hope Fr. Larson's death will provide some comfort to the hundreds who were hurt by his crimes against at least 17 children.” 

Crimes by Fr. Larson and cover ups by his Catholic supervisors attracted national attention in 2002.

“We are grateful and will always be grateful to the courageous victims who helped expose, prosecute and convict Fr. Larson,” Clohessy said. “Our hearts ache for them and their families, especially Janet and Horace Patterson of Conway Springs Kansas, who worked tirelessly to protect other children and comfort other victims from coast to coast.”

SNAP wants Marquette Bishop John F. Doerfler and Wichita's Kemme “to personally visit every parish where Fr. Larson worked and beg their flocks to help find and console every single child who was assaulted by this admitted criminal.”

“We urge anyone who saw, suspected or suffered crimes by Fr. Larson – whether in Michigan or Kansas, whether Catholic or Protestant – to get help, seek justice and start healing,” said Clohessy. “No one benefits when victims stay silent.”

Fr. Larson studied for the priesthood at Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis and lived in recent years at the Vianney Retirement Center near St. Louis, MO in a center for clergy who had engaged in sexual crimes or misdeeds.

According to his obituary, “Fr. Larson is survived by one sister-in-law Rita Larson and one brother-in-law John Fiorucci, both of Iron Mountain, and many nieces and nephews.”

The Erickson-Rochon & Nash Funeral Home handled the arrangements for Fr. Larson's burial. Visitation was held at the Carmelite Monastery. Funeral services were led by Monsignor James Kaczmarek, and Fr. Larson was buried in Cemetery Park.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

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