Press Release



Press Release


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release
Giving Voice to Victims


For immediate release:
Monday, May 30, 2005

For more information:
David Clohessy of St. Louis SNAP National Director 314 566-9790 cell
Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP Outreach Director 314 862 7688

Ex-Priest Who Molested Dozens Wants To Move Here

He Hopes To Live At Church-Run Center In Sunset Hills

But Church Officials Have Denied Housing Molesters There

Burke Needs to "Come Clean" On These "Pedophile Priest" Facilities Says SNAP

A former Kentucky priest, who is in prison for molesting six boys but has allegedly abused dozens more, wants to live at a church-run center in St. Louis for troubled clerics. But local archdiocesan officials have said they don't allow pedophile priests to stay at the center.

Saturday's Kentucky Post reports that "convicted child molester and defrocked priest Earl Bierman is seeking early parole and wants to move to the St. Michael's Community.

In recent years, however, St. Louis church leaders have claimed they don't let molesters to live at St. Michael's (13270 Maple Drive, 965-0860), which is operated by a Catholic religious order called The Servants of the Paraclete.

"It's hard to imagine Bierman would ask the parole board to let him stay someplace unless he has been given permission to stay there," said David Clohessy, national director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a support group. "We know perpetrators have stayed at St. Michael's in the past and suspect some may be living there now."

A 3/3/02 Post Dispatch article says St. Michael's "treats priests who suffer from depression, alcoholism or other ills, but who are considered likely to return to their duties."

But a Post story one week later (3/11/02) describes a convicted abusive West Virginia priest living at St. Michael's in 1988.

"Burke needs to come clean about these centers," said Barbara Dorris of SNAP, "Either sex offender priests are living at St. Michael's or they're not. Catholics and neighbors deserve to know the truth, so they can protect their children."

In February, SNAP also disclosed that several credibly accused abusive priests have quietly been moved into Regina Cleri, an archdiocesan retirement center in Shrewsbury.

Several months ago, the St. Louis chapter of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, asked Archbishop Raymond Burke to impose a one year moratorium on bringing alleged pedophile priests into this area.

At least two church affiliated centers '-- one in Jefferson County and one in Franklin County -- house dozens of admitted, suspected and accused Catholic clerics facing child molestation charges.

Leaders of SNAP want Burke to temporarily stop these facilities from bringing more potentially dangerous men into the archdiocese. They wrote Burke in January, asking him for such a moratorium. The archbishop has yet to respond.

At least three out-of-state priests who have been allowed to come and live in St. Louis area abusive priest centers have generated controversy in the last year.

-- Brother Gerald Chumik is wanted on felony child molestation charges in Canada. He was accepted by a center here after parishioners in California demanded he be removed for the safety of their children.

-- Father William Wiebler, an admitted child molester from Davenport Iowa, who walked away from at the Vianney Renewal Center in Dittmer last spring/summer and is living unsupervised less than 750 feet from Delmar Harvard Grade School and Julia Epstein Preschool. (Last year, church officials announced that they have received 12 more abuse allegations against Wiebler.)

-- Father Mark Roberts was charged with assaulted 11 boys in Las Vegas, convicted and sent here over the objections of the Missouri Probation Department. One of his victims lives less than 20 miles from the center.

Two other priests - Father Romano Ferraro and Father Ken Roberts - abused children in Saint Louis after being removed from their home dioceses for molesting children and sent here, SNAP claims. Lawsuits have been filed against both clergymen.

In addition, SNAP says a convicted Illinois cleric (Brother Robert Brouillette) wrote and called one of his victims while living at the center (in violation of his parole), and a convicted Wisconsin priest (Father David Malsch) received child porn in the mail and was arrested by the FBI while living at one of the centers.

"The centers lack even basic security," said Dorris. "There are no fences, no gates, no barbed wire, no ankle bracelets, no real monitoring of the molesters."

Burke's staff have sometimes claimed that the facilities are not owned or operated by the archdiocese, which limits his control over them. But SNAP says that church law and practice hold that an archbishop is responsible "for everything Catholic in his arch\diocese, especially the protection of Catholic children from rapists and molesters."

"Just last month, a Minnesota prelate who heads the US Bishops' Sex Abuse Committee banned a religious order from working in his diocese," said Clohessy. "It's disingenuous and deceitful to claim Burke is powerless over these centers."

The Vianney Center is run by the Servants of the Paraclete. RECON is run by a Franciscan priest.


Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests