MO- Whistleblowers ask Pope to discipline Bishop Finn

For immediate release: Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, [email protected])

A Catholic priest, nun and parishioners have filed formal charges with the church headquarters in Rome against Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn for his illegal and hurtful recklessness, callousness and deceit in the horrific case of a serial predator priest. 

We are deeply grateful to these brave individuals and wish them success. Far too many church employees and members do little or nothing to seek justice and prevent cover ups, even when kids are severely hurt because of irresponsible prelates.

Catholics are not powerless. They should not pretend to be. This determined group is showing real courage and compassion. Again, we are grateful that they are taking action to safeguard kids by seeking discipline for an egregious wrongdoer.

Bishop Finn should be punished because it is unjust for him to escape consequences for his selfish and hurtful deceptions. And he should also be punished because that's the best way to deter other bishops in the future from putting their reputations ahead of the safety of children.

We are skeptical of internal church processes and believe that all clergy sex crimes and cover ups should be reported to secular officials. In this case, however, our justice system has done what it can. But he remains in office. 

Pope Francis must discipline Finn or else forfeit his image as a “breath of fresh air” in the church. 

(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 15,000 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 (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, [email protected] 

Showing 1 comment

  • Michael Ference
    commented 2014-02-16 11:32:35 -0600
    An open letter to Cardinal Donald Wuerl, former Bishop of the Pittsburgh Diocese and the Zero Tolerance Fraud.

    Could the attempted murder of my son, Adam Ference been averted if diocesan hierarchy had properly supervised your former Catholic priest Father John Wellinger.

    Please review my allegations, noting which ones are true or false. If you need additional information, I would gladly provide it.

    Question 1. Allegedly, in the first quarter of 1987 Fr. John Wellinger, a priest of the Pittsburgh diocese and pastor of Holy Spirit Parish in West Mifflin, PA, drugged a University of Pittsburgh student in an apartment that the victim shared with his older brother, also a Pitt student.

    According to the victim, he was knocked out for hours. When he awoke, he intuitively called 911.
    After rushing downstairs, against the wishes of Fr Wellinger, the teenage victim flag down meet the ambulance and the attending EMTs in the street.

    The allegation of the rest of the event goes as follows: The ambulance whisked away to Presbyterian University Hospital emergency room (now University of Pittsburgh Medical Center; UPMC). Fr.
    Wellinger allegedly followed the young victim to the hospital. Upon finding him in the emergency room, the victim requested that Wellinger find his nurse. When the nurse returned the victim would explain that Wellinger was the man who had drugged him.

    Wellinger was ushered out by the nurse. To the best of my knowledge police were not notified; not even a security guard from the hospital. The victim was not examined by a doctor. In other words, the entire event was covered-up.

    The parents of the victim came to the hospital and took their son home. Furthermore, I was told by then Clairton Public Safety Director William Scully, in January of 1990, that a hospital worker, possibly a social worker, warned the parents to not take on the Pittsburgh diocese, because they are too powerful and wealthy.

    I can provide the victim’s name and contact information to verify my story.

    Cardinal Wuerl is this event TRUE or FALSE. If it’s true, the attempted murder of my son could have been averted.

    Question 2. Allegedly, a few days after the above event, the victim’s father searched out Wellinger at the parish house. At the time, Wellinger was holding a parish council meeting. So, there were plenty of.
    witnesses present, including the victim’s mother. The victim’s father was angry, because Father John Wellinger had allegedly drugged his son and possibly raped and sodomized him. The man was also angry over an outing that lasted all night long between Wellinger and his wife. According to an eyewitness Wellinger was ushered out a back door and the West Mifflin.
    Police were called.

    Concerned for the safety of Fr. Wellinger, parish council members ushered the priest out the back door and called the West Mifflin Police. Parish councils were logically concerned, because the victim’s father may have been intoxicated and carrying a weapon.

    Is there evidence of any police report? Did the fatherwould receive notification from attorneys for the Diocese of Pittsburghto stay away from Father John Wellinger and to stay off Holy Spirit property in West Mifflin, PA.

    Cardinal Wuerl is this event TRUE or FALSE. If it’s true, the attempted murder of my son could have been averted.

    Question 3. An allegation was brought to my attention within the past year or two, by a Catholic priest who stated to me via telephone that a person by the last name of Volmer went to Father Charles Bober in 1987 and warned Bober about Fr Wellinger’s deviant behavior. To the best of my knowledge, nothing was done.

    Cardinal Wuerl is this event TRUE or FALSE. If it’s true, the attempted murder of my son could have been averted.

    Question 4. Sometime in 1988, the personal secretary of Father Wellinger allegedly went to the Pittsburgh diocese and spoke to Father Ronald Lengwin about Wellinger’s deviant behavior. She also reported that a teenage boy used the rectory as his home for the longest time and enjoyed making 900 calls to porn sites, while costing the parish hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

    Sadly, the women whom I interviewed would be labeled as a rumor-monger, and once again, Bishop.
    Bevilacqua and would err on the side of dysfunctional sex freak, Fr John Wellinger, rather than erring on the side of caution.

    Cardinal Wuerl is this event TRUE or FALSE. If it’s true, the attempted murder of my son could have been averted.

    Question 5. A suicide occurred in Father John Wellinger’s parish in 1989. According to then Clairton Public Safety Director William Scully, the suicide allegedly was linked to Wellinger. Scully said that he just didn’t have the needed proof. The boy was a 16 year old who took a gun to his head and pulled the trigger.

    According to Scully, the boy had an interest in the occult and Satanism. Wellinger would hold a.
    seminar on occult practice and Satanism months later. He met with a former Mt. Lebanon police officer by the name of John Mihelic, an expert in the occult and Satanism. Mihelic has since retired but is still a consultant.
    Cardinal Wuerl is this event TRUE or FALSE. If it’s true, the attempted murder of my son could have been averted.

    If you need contact information for any victims or the names mentioned in this letter please feel free to contact me at [email protected].

    Mike Ference
    For more information visit my blog at

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