MO - Files released on two predator priests

For more information:  David Clohessy (314) 566-9790 cell, [email protected], Barbara Dorris (314) 862-7688, [email protected]

Files released on two predator priests

Each abused in CA but spent time in MO

They’re with a St. Louis-based religious order

But each worked in the Cape Girardeau diocese

Victims blast MO Catholic officials for “continued secrecy

SNAP to prelates: “Reach out to others who may be in pain

Almost 250 pages of records about two predator priests who worked in southern Missouri have just been released and a support group for clergy sex abuse victims is urging three bishops to “reach out” to others who may have been hurt by them.

One priest worked at a college and a parish in Cape Girardeau. The other worked primarily in eastern Missouri but also spent time in Cape Girardeau.

Both Fr. John Edward Ruhl and Fr. John V. “Jack” Farris belonged to the St. Louis-based western region of the Vincentians but spent much of their careers in California, where child sex abuse suits were filed against them.

More than 120 pages of records about each men were disclosed last week and are posted here:

Fr. Farris is a Kansas City native who went to St. John's seminary in Kansas City and was ordained in 1949. Fr. Farris was primarily assigned to eight or nine eastern Missouri church facilities from 1958-1999, with one year at the Evangelical Center in Cape Girardeau in 1985-1986. (See page 44 of the records for more details.)

Fr. Ruhl is a Chicago native who worked at St. Vincent’s College and St. Vincent parish in Cape Girardeau in the mid-1960s. He was ordained in 1964.

The lawsuits against both priests were settled in 2007, with a provision that personnel documents about the clerics – and hundreds of other child molesting priests, nuns, and brothers – would be publicly disclosed. Despite that agreement, Catholic officials have filed repeated legal motions delaying the disclosures for almost seven years. Last week, however, some of the records were released.

Fr. Farris is accused of molesting a child in California from 1951-54. He was then sent to a series of parishes in Missouri beginning in 1957.

Fr. Ruhl is accused of molesting three children from 1970-82. In 2002, an abuse report was made to his church supervisors in California that he molested a child several times in the early 1970s. Another confidential memo dated 1993 was written after a young man contacted church officials and said he’d been molested by Fr. Ruhl at a seminary in 1976.

According to the Los Angeles Daily News, “a follow-up note said Fr. Ruhl had been given a lie-detector test after a previous accusation and ‘there was reason to suspect that there had possibly been other inappropriate behaviors.’”

Fr. Ruhl left the order and became a priest of the Diocese of Orange in California.

Both also spent time at the now-closed St. Mary’s seminary in Perryville in the 1960s.

Now leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, want Catholic officials in three dioceses – Kansas City, Springfield-Cape Girardeau and St. Louis - to 

--publicly announce the release of these files and post them on diocesan websites, and

--use diocesan and parish websites to urge more victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to come forward so that those who committed or concealed crimes will be prosecuted and jailed, kids will be safer and victims will get help.

The Vincentians have been prominent in the history of the church in Missouri, starting and running, for many years, Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis. In the Springfield-Cape Girardeau diocese, the Vincentians have worked at Holy Trinity parish in Aurora, Christ the Savior parish in Brewer and Sacred Heart parish Verona.

Another Vincentian priest, Fr. Vincent Bryce, now lives and works on the edge of the St. Louis University campus, despite having admitted that he repeatedly molested a boy.

Other accused abusive Vincentians who have worked in Missouri include Fr. Richard L. Lause in St. Louis and Fr. James Lawbaugh and Fr. Thomas Parrott in Kansas City. Civil child sex abuse and cover up cases involving all three of them have been settled.

Showing 2 comments

  • Marycatherine Nolan
    commented 2016-07-04 11:58:23 -0500
    well, pat, this piece of garbage is now living at the symphony residences of lincoln park, chicago il. the address is 2437 n southport ave apt 408 chicago il 60614. how he got in i will never know. i see and loathe him everyday. as a catholic i am ashamed regarding his actions to many innocent boys. what i want to know is how did he get away with all his malicious actions without prosecution? mary catherine nolan, also an ashamed resident
  • Pat Brown
    commented 2015-09-06 07:37:22 -0500
    John Ruhl molested more than one boy in the early 1970’s. Though I never publicly made an accusation before now (but have told family members and close friends), I can attest that this piece of garbage did indeed molest me many times while I was a student (sophomore) at Queen of Angels Seminary in 1970. I just recently read a redacted report from another student who was obviously a classmate of mine from a different home parish. That report was so eerily similar to what I experienced that it gave me goose bumps when I read it. Especially when it came to referring to Fr. Ruhl’s size – I remember that we used to call him “the Horse”. Also that he used to keep a large stash of candy and treats in his room (I think he used to sell the treats to make money “for the missions”). I read some years ago that he left the seminary and went to Orange County but I often wonder where this sick individual is now.

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