MO- Group challenges Jeff City Catholic officials
Group challenges Jeff City Catholic officials
They're concerned about “troubling school cases”
Three Helias staff accused of “inappropriate” acts
SNAP says bishop should hold an open public meeting
Church officials have pledged “openness” in such incidents
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will:
–discuss three “disturbing” cases of inappropriate behavior by Helias High School staff in the last three years,
–call on Jefferson City's Catholic bishop to hold an open public meeting to discuss these matters, and
–urge anyone who “may have seen, suspected or suffered misdeeds or crimes” by the three individuals to “call police, get help, expose wrongdoing, protect children and start healing.”
Sunday, Sept. 28 at 1:15p.m.
On the sidewalk outside Helias Catholic High School, 1305 Swifts Hwy, (near Myrtle) in Jefferson City, MO (573 635 6139)
Two-three members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a St. Louis man who is the organization's long time director and was molested by a Jeff City diocesan priest
In February, Helias art teacher Mark Friggle resigned after making an inappropriate comment to a 14 year-old female student. Former students said that “Friggle had made comments of what they called a perverted nature in the past,” ABC 17 reported.
(In on line forums, Allen DeMois, Chris Westergaard, and Megan Rieke defended Friggle. Rieke is Friggle's niece.)
It was the third “troubling” incident involving a Helias staffer in as many years. So SNAP is urging Jeff City Bishop John Gaydos to hold an open public meeting to discuss the three cases and let parents and parishioners express their concerns and ask questions of diocesan officials.
The other two cases:
1) Last year, Helias teacher and tennis coach Tim Dunville resigned after he wedded a Ukranian woman who was charged with illegally attempting to get married to get U.S. citizenship according to court records. Dunville was allegedly offered $36,000 for his involvement.
2) In 2012, Father Brendan Doyle, the school's spiritual director and racquetball coach, was indefinitely suspended from public ministry because of “downloaded pornographic images that were found on a laptop computer he owned and a school laptop he used,” according to seven-member church board.
SNAP notes that this seems to be an inordinate amount of controversy in a short time for a relatively small school. The group also says that in a 2002 national-wide policy (called the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People), Catholic officials have also pledged to be “open and transparent” about abuse cases.
SNAP wants Gaydos to disclose Fr. Doyle's whereabouts. He had also been affiliated with Immaculate Conception parish in Jeff City (573 635 6143).
Deacon Dan K. Joyce of Jeff City is the diocesan spokesperson (573 635 9127 work, firstname.lastname@example.org). Bishop Gaydoes can be reached at email@example.com and his vicar general Msgr. Gregory Higley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Fr. Doyle's lawyer is Brian Francka.
The Helias president is Fr. Stephen Jones (email@example.com) and its principal is Sr. Jean Dietrich (firstname.lastname@example.org). A list of the school's advisory council members with their email addresses is available on the school's website: http://www.heliashighschool.com/
The school is advertising for a new principal. And the Jeff City diocese is advertising for a superintendent of its schools.
SNAP is urging both institutions to hire lay people from outside the diocese for the positions.