SNAP News Conference July 7 at 11 AM in St. Louis
Victims call for boycott of big locally-based Catholic order
SNAP: “Alums should stop donating until the full truth is told”
Marianists “are still hiding at least 2 accused St. L predators, group says
Neither are on the list of 46 alleged offenders that was released last week
One’s been defrocked & faces 30 allegations but may still working overseas
More than 80 other religious orders work in the area; most ‘under the radar’
SNAP urges new St. Louis archbishop to force disclosure by these groups
They comprise about one-third of all the Catholic clergy in this archdiocese
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will blast a large, locally-based national Catholic religious order (that runs Vianney, Chaminade and other schools) for
---deliberately leaving at least two high profile credibly accused child molesting clerics OFF its recently-disclosed list of 46 predators, and
---being “self-servingly vague” about 46 alleged abusers.
They will also call on the incoming new St. Louis archbishop to
---warn and tell Catholics and citizens about these two predators,
---post all religious order molesters, not just archdiocesan molesters, on the archdiocesan website, and
---forbid these orders from working in the St. Louis area unless they disclose, on their own websites
Wednesday, July 8 at 11:00 a.m.
On the sidewalk outside the Marianists national headquarters, 4425 West Pine Blvd. (corner of Newstead) in St. Louis (one block south of the ‘new’ cathedral on Lindell)
Two-four adults who were sexually abused as kids and belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)
1----Last week, the Marianists, a Catholic religious order that operates schools in this area and across the US, released a list of 46 of its clerics who were “found to have sexually abused a minor,” according to the order’s website. https://www.marianist.com/healing
The abusers lived or worked at 12 places locally. These include several schools (St. Louis University, Chaminade, Vianney, St. Mary’s, McBride, DeAndreis, American Seminary, Coyle High School in Kirkwood and in the Rockwood School District), one parish (Our Lady of Pillar in Creve Coeur) and several other institutions (St. Joseph Hill Infirmary in Eureka and Camp Chaminade).
But two high profile credibly accused child molesting clerics who worked in St. Louis are missing from the list: Fr. William Christensen & Fr. Robert Osborne. SNAP wants their names added and an apology and explanation offered as to why they were left off.
Christensen was sued for molesting here, has been defrocked and faces allegations of assaulting dozens of kids in Bangladesh, where he may still be working.
Osborne was sued for molesting here, faced several accusers, was ousted as head of Vianney and forbidden by the archdiocese from living on church property & saying mass publicly.
(Both lawsuits were settled out of court.)
SNAP is urging alums of Marianist schools to donate elsewhere and demand that Marianist officials produce a better, more accurate and comprehensive list of molesters.
And SNAP is prodding Marianists officials to “do aggressive outreach,” especially to “those who may be vulnerable to harm or have already been hurt by these predators.”
2----About 1/3 of all priests, monks, seminarians and brothers in the St. Louis archdiocese and belong to one of about 80 religious orders (like Jesuits, Marianists, Redemptorists, etc.) Most Catholics are unaware of this fact.
But only 24 out of hundreds of religious orders nationally have revealed even a partial list of their abusers. And Archbishop Robert Carlson is the only one of Missouri’s four Catholic bishops to refuse to list religious order offenders on his website.
SNAP is urging St. Louis’ incoming new archbishop, Mitchell Rozanski (arriving in six weeks) to a) list religious order predators on the archdiocesan website and b) forbid religious orders from working here unless they post their own list of child molesting clerics (a step that Jefferson City’s bishop has taken).
NOTE: In the Belleville diocese, at least five Marianists work/worked or live/lived, most at Central Catholic and Assumption High School in East St. Louis and Cathedral High School in Belleville. All are now closed. https://www.bnd.com/news/local/article243930227.html
The formal name of the Marianists is the Society of Mary. It has roughly 270 members from Honolulu to Puerto Rico, and in Eastern Africa, India, Ireland and Mexico.
Photos of some of the accused men are at BishopAccountability.org.
Fact sheet on child molesting Marianist clerics in the St. Louis area (7/20)
Earlier this month, the Marianists released a list of 46 Marianists clerics “found to have sexually abused a minor.” But it’s not complete. It provides meaningless details (like when an individual ‘professed vows’) while deliberately leaving out crucial information that would help protect kids (like photos, last known whereabouts, etc.)
And it omits key facts that would show just how much Marianist officials knew about child sex crimes and how little they did to stop them (like when church officials first heard a report of abuse by a cleric, if/when they called police, etc.)
Several of the listed clerics had never been ‘outed’ before (Baier, Kennealy, Sanneman, Schlund, Wayer and Wood).
How many years have Marianists deliberately, recklessly and callously kept reports of child sex crimes against each of these predators hidden? How many other kids have been assaulted as a result of such self-serving secrecy?”
Several of the listed clerics had been ‘outed’ before elsewhere but attracted no attention in the St. Louis area, where they also worked (Aten, Fitzsimmons, McNulty, Purcell, for example).
Several names are inexplicably missing from the Marianists ‘credibly accused’ list
--Fr. William Andrew Christensen, who was sued in 2002 by a now deceased former St. Louis man Michael Powel who said the cleric molested him from 15-17 in 1973-75 at Chaminade. (Powel said that Br. John J. Woulfe also abused him at Chaminade). Abuse allegedly included oral sex, anal sodomy, and viewing porn. Christensen not served with suit until 10/07. Powel’s family settled the suit in 2011.
Christensen lived & worked in Bangladesh for 20 years, where he allegedly abused 30 Muslim children. He was reportedly defrocked in 2010. Reportedly still in Bangladesh in 6!8, running an NGO he founded in 2012. He had filed defamation lawsuits against one of his accusers and against a former nun who had reported him to his provincial.
--Fr. Robert R. Osborne, who was sued in 2006 by a then-teenaged Vianney student for "sexually, physically and emotionally abuse."
“Several other former students have come forward with allegations that they were abused by him as kids,” reported the Webster Kirkwood Times.
A second complainant also came forward, according to the Post Dispatch.
(The priest was the Vianney president of St. John Vianney high school when the suit was filed.)
The school’s board permanently removed Fr. Osborne in August 2006 because it said the lawsuit would distract from his job. In October 2006. a prosecutor decided against filing criminal charges. A civil suit was settled with the order in 2007 but the priest did not admit guilt. In 2008, he claimed to be chaplain for Kirkwood Police Dept and late that same year he was still saying Mass at St. Peter's Catholic Church in Kirkwood.
But in 2009, the archdiocese removed his ‘faculties,’ which “meant he could not live in residence within any archdiocesan parish rectory or celebrate Mass publicly,” according to the Post Dispatch. The archdiocese claimed it had recently seen the results of an investigation by Marianists into abuse reports against Fr. Osborne.
We can’t help but wonder how many other proven, admitted or credibly accused abusive Marianists are not on the official Marianists’ child molesters list and are still being hidden.
Names of “new” abusers – who ‘outed’ last week, were in the St. Louis archdiocese/area but have attracted no attention here
--Br. Michael J. Aten who worked in Camp Chaminade and Wisconsin.
-- Mark A. Baier, who worked at Chaminade, Camp Chaminade and in Wisconsin and Texas.
--Fr. Eugene T. Fitzsimmons, who worked at McBride, St. Mary’s, the Rockwood School District and Assumption (East St. Louis).
--Br. William R. Kennealy, who was born, raised and died in St. Louis, attended St. Louis University and worked at Chaminade, DeAndreis and St. Mary’s. He also worked in Illinois and Texas.
--Br. Harold J. Lootens, who worked at Vianney in the 1980s.
--Br. August E Ludwig, who was at Chaminade and Vianney and St. Joseph Hill Infirmary (in Eureka). He also worked in California, Virginia, Texas, Hawaii and Washington.
--Fr. Patrick J. McNulty, who worked at Cathedral School in Belleville and Texas.
--Br. Marvin F. Sanneman, who worked at Vianney in the 1980s.
-- Br. John N. Schlund, who worked at Chaminade and three sites in Texas.
--Br. Ronald M. Tissier, who worked at Camp Chaminade and McBride.
--Br. Vincent A. Wayer, who worked at Chaminade, Vianney and McBride (and in Wisconsin, Indiana and Texas).
--Br. Robert D. Wood, who worked at St. Mary’s and in Texas, Illinois, Canada, Japan, Peru and Mexico.