The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

Statements Regarding New Suit Against St. Louis Priest


For immediate release:
Friday, May 13, 2005

New Sex Abuse Lawsuit Filed Against St. Louis Priest

A new civil sex abuse lawsuit has been filed today against the St. Louis archdiocese and a now deceased Catholic priest.

The victim is a man who claims he was repeatedly sexually abused by Father Norman Christian between the ages of 13 and 15 (1974-76), when he was an altar boy at St. George's parish in Affton.

Clergy sex abuse victims with SNAP announced the lawsuit this afternoon outside the archdiocesan headquarters. Among the group was the sister of the abusive priest, Carol Kuhnert of Union, who is openly and compassionately reaching out to and supporting Christian's victims.

The victim in today's lawsuit is now in his 40s and lives out of state.

Both Kuhnert and the victim released statements, which are below.

Last month, two other men filed civil lawsuits against Christian in St. Louis City Circuit Court. They also named as a defendant Robert E. Oberle, a Scout leader (Pack 426) in Festus who was recently suspended and who they say witnessed but did not stop the abuse. Oberle often "skinny-dipped' with Christian and boys on his property, according to that lawsuit.

A third Christian victim, Tim Fischer of Jefferson County, settled his lawsuit against the archdiocese in December. But controversy erupted when Fischer was forced to publicly pressure Archbishop Raymond Burke to write an apology letter which was mandated as part of the settlement. It took Burke two months to send the letter.

Christian, who worked in roughly ten area parishes, passed away in Oct. of 2004. In an unprecedented move, several of Christian's family members reached out, through SNAP, to the priest's victims. (See Bill McClellan column:

Photos of Christian are available at

Articles about Christian are available at

Attorneys in the case include Ken Chackes or Susan Carlson (for victim) 872 8420 and Ed Goldenhirsch and Bernard Huger (for the archdiocese).

David Clohessy 566 9790, 645 5915
Tim Fischer (SNAP member and victim of Christian, not suing), home 636 933 2467, cell 314 566 9262

Statement by Carol Kuhnert of Union (636 583 4924), sister of abusive priest Norman Christian:

'It's good that Fr. Christian's victims are finding the courage to let go of the ugly secret they've been keeping since they were kids. What happened to them was not their fault. It was their love, trust and respect for a priest that made them easy prey for such an unlikely pedophile.

Years ago, parents taught their kids to respect trust and obey all "religious." It was unthinkable that one would ever harm a child.

My family and I are very sorry for the pain my brother caused to so many during his lifetime. They are in our prayers."

Statement by John Doe, who filed a civil sexual abuse lawsuit today against Fr. Norman Christian.

"Fr. Christian is not around to apologize, but other church officials are and should apologize. Why didn't the other priests stop this abuse? Isn't it strange none of them "saw anything"? Where are they now? Why are they not speaking up now? I deserved to be treated better. I just wish they would say they were sorry, that would go a long way. Bottom line: I just don't want this to happen to another child."



Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests