MO- Biondi must deal with predator priests, SNAP says

Before he leaves office, we hope Fr. Lawrence Biondi addresses the ten publicly accused predator priests who live/lived or work/worked at SLU: Fr. Franklyn Becker, Fr. Edward Beutner, Fr. Charles H. Miller, Fr. Daniel C. O’Connell, Fr. Juan Carlos Duran, Fr. Eugene Maio, Fr. Jack Campbell, Fr. Chester E. Gaiter, Fr. Gerhardt B. Lehmkuhl and Fr. Vincent W. Bryce.

Bryce is believed to still be on campus now. Lehmkuhl passed away last year. Gaiter passed away in 2010. Miller now works in Rome. And O’Connell is one of Biondi’s predecessors as SLU president. (He’s accused of sexually exploiting a female student who, technically, was an adult at the time.)

Repeatedly in recent years, we in SNAP have begged and prodded Biondi to disclose the whereabouts of these predators and the allegations against them. He has ignored us. We’ve also asked him to urge his Jesuits colleagues to move all their credibly accused pedophiles to a remote, independent, secure and professionally run treatment center, so that others will be safer. Again, Biondi ignored us.

Let’s look at just three of the accused:

--Last year, a New York woman who says she was sexually violated by O’Connell filed an unusual civil lawsuit charging that the Jesuits are violating a 2003 agreement with her to keep O’Connell out of public priestly ministry.  Despite these restrictions, O’Connell has subsequently taught seminars at two Jesuit universities and worked at a Berlin parish, despite his supervisors deeming the woman “credible.” (O’Connell headed SLU from 1974-78.)

--According to church records obtained through civil lawsuits, Becker was known to have sexually assaulted what appears to be dozens of children for decades in Wisconsin and California. The earliest direct report by a victim to church officials was in the mid-1970s. A settlement was reached in 2007 with one of Becker’s victims in California for over one million dollars and several lawsuits involving his child sex crimes are pending against the Milwaukee Archdiocese.

--Beutner is accused of molesting at least five girls and boys. He is now retired.

(Beutner and Becker were at SLU in the mid-1970s.)

How many other proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics now live at or near SLU? Now that he’s retiring, Biondi has no excuse to keep hiding information about these potentially dangerous men.

Here’s our 2009 letter to then-SLU public safety director:

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