SLU Student, Accused of Abuse, is Given Money by an Ex-Archdiocesan Official
An ex-St. Louis archdiocesan official has recently lived with and given substantial money to a seminarian who now
- is being sued for alleged abuse in 2019,
- faces six accusers in three states, and
- attends St. Louis University.
Knoxville Bishop Richard Stika, a St. Louis native who handled child sex abuse cases here for years, has given the accused seminarian (according to newly-disclosed church records)
- $4,000 in cash,
- a $2,000 laptop, and
- $600 - $1,000 monthly stipends.
Stika has also paid his cell phone bill, reimbursed him nearly $30,000 for travel, car repair, “birthday expenses” and took him on a 10-day vacation AFTER he'd been kicked out of an Indiana seminary, according to church documents.
We in SNAP beg St. Louis University and St. Louis Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski to warn SLU students and staff - and parents, police, prosecutors and the public - about Wojciech (Wojtek) Sobczuk.
We also urge SLU president Fred Pestello to oust Sobczuk, as the Jesuits and two Catholic seminaries have done.
Finally, we call on Pope Francis to oust Stika for his reckless and deceitful behavior, so that citizens and Catholics in eastern Tennessee will be safer.
A recent lawsuit charges that a Tennessee church organist was raped and sexually harassed by a young seminarian who now attends St. Louis University and who continues to be protected by his bishop, a former top St. Louis archdiocesan official.
The accused man, Wojciech (Wojtek) Sobczuk, has reportedly been kicked out of the Jesuits and two Catholic seminaries, because of allegations of sexual misconduct.
He had been living with former St. Louis Archbishop Justin Rigali and St. Louis native Rick Stika, who is now Knoxville's bishop. (Stika was a vicar here for a decade and was in charge of handling child sex abuse cases. In 1999, he coordinated Pope John Paul II's visit to St. Louis.)
In 2019, Stika hired Sobczuk as his assistant and let him work at the Knoxville cathedral, where he allegedly raped and sexually harassed the young organist. Stika admits firing an investigator who was hired to look into the rape allegation because the investigator "was asking all these questions." Stika says he “knew in [his] heart” the seminarian was innocent. In a bizarre twist, the suit also charges that Stika has 'turned the tables,' claiming that the seminarian was himself sexually assaulted by the lawsuit’s plaintiff, the organist.
In 2021, Sobczuk was dismissed from St. Meinrad Seminary in Indiana. In 2019, he was ousted from Sts. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake Michigan. Both moves were prompted by allegations of sexual misconduct &/or "boundary violations."
Sobczuk is a native of Poland who came to Knoxville in 2018.
Here's a copy of the lawsuit.
Confirmation of Sobczuk's presence at SLU is also available here
Last month, SNAP members handed out leaflets on the SLU campus prodding university officials to post on their website the names of credibly accused child molesting clerics (like the archdiocese does). Their leaflet named several priests who have been publicly accused of abuse and have lived or worked at SLU: Fr. David C Bayne, Fr. Franklyn W. Becker, Fr. Edward F. Beutner, Fr. Floyd A. Brey, Fr. Vincent Bryce, Fr. John J. “Jack” Campbell, Fr. James A. Condon, Fr. Juan Carlos Duran, Fr. Paul A. Frey, Fr. Chester E. Gaiter, Fr. James F. Gates, Fr. John Harrington, Fr. Gerhardt B. Lehkmuhl, Fr. Jerold W. Lindner, Fr. Eugene Maio, Fr. Charles H. Miller, Fr. John N. Morfin, Fr. James Glenn Murray, Fr. Thomas J. Naughton, Fr. James V. O’Connor, Fr. George M. Pieper, Fr. John Slowey, Br. Richard H. Witzofsky and seminarian Francis J. Kegel.
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