MO--Six predator priests “outed” for first time

Six predator priests “outed” for first time

All worked in Catholic dioceses Missouri or Illinois

They’re “credibly accused child molesters,” church admits

Long secret records about them were just released this week

More hidden documents will be disclosed in the months ahead

Two of them were in this area as recently as three & six years ago


Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will
--disclose the names of six predator priests who’ve never been “outed” here before,

--discuss just-released and soon-to-be-released secret records about them, and

--provide their photos and work histories 

They will also

-- prod anyone who was hurt by the priests to speak up and get help, and

-- prod Catholic officials in St. Louis, Belleville and Springfield to “come clean” with more information about the priests and aggressively seek out their victims.



TODAY, Wednesday, July 8 at 2:00 p.m. (rain or shine)


On the sidewalk outside the Belleville diocese headquarters (“chancery office”), 222 South Third St. in

Belleville, IL


Three-four individuals who belong to

--a support group called the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), and/or

--a Catholic reform group called Faithful of Southern Illinois (FOSIL)


Records about seven predator priests who worked in the St. Louis area are being released as part of a lawsuit settlement. Only one of the priests has been publicly exposed in this area as credibly accused child molesters until now. One lived in Belleville as recently as 2012. Another was there until 2009. Two of them also spent time in the St. Louis archdiocese and three were in the Springfield-Cape diocese.

One of them spent seven decades as a priest in this area. From the 1940s until six years ago, Fr. James Vincent Fitzgerald split his time between six states including assignments in at least three towns in Illinois towns and two in Missouri.

The two who worked in St. Louis archdiocese are Fr. Robert J.  Reitmeier (at Holy Guardian Angels Parish) and Fr. Fitzgerald (at St. Michael’s Community).

The five priests who worked in the Belleville diocese are:

Fr. Thomas Meyer worked in Belleville, Alton and Mansfield, MO.

Fr. Emil Twardochleb was in Belleville and Henry, IL.

Fr. Michael Charland was in Belleville, Sparta, Godfrey, and Carthage, MO.

Fr. Orville Munie was in Belleville, Toluca, Mendota, Bethany and Campus, IL.

Fr. Paul Kabat worked in Belleville.

More details about each of the predators and their specific work histories in Missouri and Illinois (including dates, parishes and photos) will be provided at the news conference and/or is available at

Each priest belonged or belongs to a Belleville-based religious order called the Oblates (1-888-330-6264, [email protected]). It operates the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville.

SNAP and FOSIL believe it’s likely others who were hurt by these priests are “still suffering in shame, silence and self-blame.” The groups want St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson and Belleville Bishop Edward Braxton to “use parish bulletins, church websites and pulpit announcements” to “aggressively seek out and offer help to these wounded victims.”

The records release is part of a settlement in a civil lawsuit brought in Minnesota against the Oblates by a man who reports having been molested by Fr. Fitzgerald. The settlement involved only the Oblates, so the case against the dioceses of Duluth and New Ulm (where the seven also worked) continues. So more long-hidden church records will be divulged in the months ahead.

The attorneys who represent the victim in this case are Jeff Anderson 651 227 9990, 612 817 8665 cell) and Mike Finnegan (651 227 9990). They have also handled clergy sex cases in Belleville and St. Louis.

(Three of the priests also spent time in the Springfield-Cape Girardeau diocese. Fr. Fitzgerald in Gainesville, Fr. Charland in Carthage and Fr. Meyer in Mansfield.)

Fr. Reitmeier and Fr. Charland are alive. (The latter is a psychologist in the Twin Cities area.) The other five are deceased.


David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, davidg[email protected]), Anne Harter (618-277-7594), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, [email protected])   

Showing 2 comments

  • Cj Plourde
    commented 2015-07-30 15:10:32 -0500
    I was sexually abused by a house parent, Thomas Hebert of St. Michaels Center, Bangor, Maine. Likewise, other issues occurred with staff psychologist, who was gay, took me out of my foster home and put me in a group home so he could be with me. When he approached me, sexually, i ran away and back to the boy’s home. Their decision was to send me out of state, out of state, out of mind.

    My sister was abused by a catholic priest in my home town in Maine. My parents reported it and he was chased out of our community. But my sister went to Massachusetts and married him. That same man, Renald Hallee, is my brother in law. Sadly, another woman came to accuse him in a `Portland, Maine court a few years ago. It was settled between the two parties. We know what that implies. She said that when Father Hallee was a priest in her community parish, he abused her on numerous occasions. She was 9. As much, Catholic Charities claims that it knew nothing about Renald Hallee, but they are lying because what happened to the girl of 9 was one incident and what happened to my sister happened a few years later, around 1975-1977 or so. I knew because my parents shared what had happened, and I once saw the priest and my sister walking hand in hand.

    My sister is a victim, but she is in denial. I worry about other young children, especially since my sister was running a home day care center. I worry because I know what pedophiles are as I was victimized by several of them. Most of my family members are in denial, and that hurts. Catholic Charities is disgusting because they claim to be a spiritual organization and yet they hide behind the best lawyers in the state.
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