MO- New memo shows archbishop being deceptive; SNAP responds

For immediate release: Monday, August 11, 2014

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, [email protected])

“Find a suitable cover story. . . so that this thing does not blow up.” That's what then-Bishop Robert Carlson wrote to his boss about a credibly accused predator priest. 

That priest was finally removed from active ministry just a few months ago.

Carlson now heads the Archdiocese of St. Louis. The memo, written in 1985, was made public this morning in Minnesota.

It is yet another example – in Carlson's own words – of his willingness to deceive the public and his own parishioners about child molesting clerics.

Let's see how Carlson spins this one. Let's see what possible excuse he offers to “explain away” such Machiavellian, self-serving and irresponsible advice from one professed spiritual figure to another.

Our guess is that he'll ignore this, even though these are his words, in writing, while he was a bishop. (We hope St. Louis Catholics, citizens, and journalists won't let him ignore it.) Will Carlson claim that 20+ years ago, he didn't know lying was wrong?

The cleric involved, Fr. Kenneth LaVan, allegedly threatened one of his victims “about possibly burning down the house ... 'or have your husband murdered, but I am not that kind of person,' " Carlson quoted LaVan as saying.

We challenge Carlson to 'man up' and admit that in this case and others, he actively deceived and deceives the public in clergy sex cases.

(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

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]

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