More Mid-MO predator Priests Are ‘Outed’ By Church
Two more mid-MO predator priests are exposed
Church officials elsewhere say they’re “credibly accused”
But Jeff City’s bishop ‘stays silent’ about them, SNAP charges
Neither are on his official diocesan child molesting clerics list
A third abusive priest was just added, but was also ‘outed’ elsewhere
The 3 were at 10 mid-MO towns: Jeff City, Moberly, Boonville & Fayette
SNAP: “What other dangerous predators are local Catholic staffers hiding?”
A support group for victims is blasting mid-Missouri’s top Catholic official for “endangering kids by staying silent and keeping secrets” about three Catholic priests who worked in the Jefferson City diocese.
The three were recently and publicly declared “credibly accused” of molesting kids by church officials in St. Louis and Kansas City.
Two have attracted no attention in central Missouri news accounts or church circles; one was mentioned in a few articles for the first time last week.
--Fr. Ralph Zimmer, who worked at St. Peter’s parish in Jefferson City and was ‘outed’ as an abuser by the St. Louis archdiocese a year ago and has been on Archbishop Robert Carlson’s ‘credibly accused’ list since then.
He was born in 1943 and died in 1981. Catholic officials haven’t revealed where or when his alleged crimes took place.
--Fr. Peter Clement Vatter, against whom an abuse charge was “deemed credible” by Kansas City church officials in April, who said “The abuse occurred in the late 1940’s when Fr. Vatter was pastor at Immaculate Conception Parish in Moberly.”
(In 1955, the parish was renamed St. Pius X Parish.)
He also worked at St. Columban Parish in Chillicothe and St. Boniface Parish in Brunswick. Fr. Vatter was born in 1889, ordained in 1916 and died in 1950.
--Fr. John C. Condit, who worked for about 25 years in parishes in Sedalia, Boonville, Fayette, Bahner.and Taos and was also a military chaplain.
Last week, the St. Louis archdiocese disclosed his identity as an abuser.
Fr. Condit was born in 1945 and died in 1994. Catholic officials haven’t revealed where or when his alleged crimes took place.
In mid-Missouri, as best SNAP can tell, two news outlets mentioned Condit last week. None, however, have reported on the accusations against Zimmer or Vatter or where they worked.
Days ago, Condit WAS added to the Jefferson City predator priest list, but with no apparent notice to the public or parishioners, as best SNAP can tell.
All three men are now on the official church ‘credibly accused’ lists in either Kansas City or St. Louis. archstl.org/list
“But virtually no one in mid-Missouri knows about two of these predators – Vatter and Zimmer. They’re still completely ‘under the radar’ in and around the places they worked, thanks to the complicity of Jeff City Catholic officials who keep pledging ‘transparency’ but practicing secrecy,” said David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP’s former executive director. Clohessy and three of his brothers were molested as kids in Moberly by Fr. John Whiteley of the Jeff City diocese.
“If a pedophile priest was in central Missouri, central Missouri church officials should tell central Missouri parishioners,” said Judy Jones of Marthasville, SNAP’s Midwest Director. “Jeff City Bishop Shawn McKnight promised to be ‘open’ about abuse. But if we’re learning from bishops elsewhere about predators who spent time here, then McKnight’s clearly breaking his promise.”
“We’re sad that no Catholic individual or institution in central Missouri is doing any outreach to others who he may have hurt and who may still be hurting,” said Jones.
“And we hope that anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by Vatter, Zimmer, Condit or any church staffer will call police, therapists and our support group,” said Clohessy. “The pain and after-effects of abuse don’t vanish if you stay quiet. You’ve got to share your secret with someone you trust.”
“If McKnight will keep quiet about deceased predators, who knows if he’s doing the same with living predators?” Jones asked.
Last week, in an unrelated case, another accused mid-Missouri priest stepped down after having been suspended for a year for allegedly abusing an adult. He is Fr. Mark Porterfield, most recently the pastor at St. Martin Catholic Church in St. Martins.
In 2018, McKnight promoted Fr. Porterfield to be vice-chancellor, vicar for clergy, chief canonist and a member of the bishop’s cabinet, roles in which he’d “work in responding to allegations of sexual abuse.” SNAP criticized the choice as “a very worrisome potential ‘fox in the hen house’ kind of situation.” Fr. Porterfield has been the diocese’s judicial vicar since 2012
For the safety of others, SNAP wants McKnight to more aggressively call on other victims, witnesses or whistleblowers to come forward using parish bulletins, pulpit announcements and church websites.
Since 2000, Fr. Porterfield has led these other parishes: Sacred Heart in Rich Fountain, St. Alexander in Belle, St. Thomas the Apostle in St. Thomas, St. Margaret of Antioch in Osage Bend St. Cecilia in Meta.
He attended three schools in Missouri (in Linn, Hannibal and Conception) and one in Rome. In 1994, he was ordained in Frankenstein MO.
For a list of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics who worked in the Jefferson City diocese, go to BishopAccountability.org and click on the map of the US.