The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Burke is promoted by Pope; Sex abuse victims respond
For immediate release: Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2010
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, [email protected])
We're saddened by the Pope's pattern of promoting bishops who ignore or conceal child sex crimes. While in St. Louis, Burke was often reckless, deceptive and callous regarding predator priests, vulnerable kids and wounded victims. He expanded the troubling practice of importing sexually troubled priests from across the US, letting some of them work in local parishes and letting others stay in church facilities that are secretive and careless about public safety.
The Pope continues to reward men just like him: bright but rigid, and seemingly more committed to preserving orthodoxy than protecting children. The Pope can't have it both ways. He can't be taken seriously when he professes to care about children and victims while promoting men who endanger children and hurt victims.
To Catholics and victims hoping for a more compassionate, responsive and responsible church hierarchy, this move is distressing.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 22 years and have more than 10,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, [email protected]), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, [email protected])
St. Louis Archdiocese Importing Predatory Priests
Under Archbishop Raymond Burke, dozens of proven, admitted, and credibly accused predator priests have been sent to St. Louis. Some live in church facilities, others don't. At least three worked recently in city parishes and one works now at a local Catholic college. None of them, SNAP feels, are adequately supervised and in virtually no case did church officials notify parishioners or the public about these potentially dangerous clerics.
(The following information is far from complete or comprehensive. It is almost strictly based on public documents: police records, litigation, news accounts, etc.)
1) Proven, admitted or credibly accused priests sent here to work or disclosed as working here in recent years.
In December 2007, a Chicago area newspaper disclosed that he works in the library at the Aquinas Institute. (SNAP has and has shared with local news media copies of a 2002 letter from his supervisor confirming that Bryce admitted the abuse.)
In 2002, Bryce resigned from two parishes in the Grand Rapids Michigan Diocese. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news3/2002_04_22_GrandRapidPress_PriestResigns_Vincent_Bryce_1.htm
This took place after Bryce was confronted about his crimes by church authorities who had learned of it through St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson. A settlement was paid to the victim.
Besides his library job, Bryce has also been listed as “guest master” at the St. Louis Dominican Priory (3601 Lindell Blvd., 633-4400). (At least two other predatory clerics, Fr. Chester E. Gaiter and Fr. Gerhardt B. Lehmkuhl, live there too. Lehmkuhl pled guilty to child porn. Child sex abuse lawsuits againsts Gaiter have been settled.)
Both the priory’s website and the library’s website have photos and e mail addresses of other staff but not of Bryce. Some information about Bryce was removed after SNAP publicly exposed him in 2007.
The summer before, he twice sexually assaulted a parishioner, Peggy Warren, of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Wichita, KS. In August 2004, to protect herself, Warren got a 'Protection From Abuse' Order against Voelker from the Sedgwick County Sheriff.
After reporting Voelker’s crimes to Wichita Catholic officials, Voelker was sent to St. Louis. His Kansas parishioners were told he was sent to Missouri for health reasons. Voelker’s St. Louis parishioners were told he was here to go to school. Church officials in neither diocese warned parishioners or the public about him.
In June 2005, Warren received a substantial settlement from church authorities because of the assaults. She was represented by attorneys Denis Ventriglia (910-256-0040) and Mike Hepperly (316-267-5330). She has also reported the crimes to Detective Scott Wiswell (316-268-4156) of the Wichita police.
The Yakima (Washington) Herald Republican printed other allegations involving Mitchell’s sexual misconduct that hadn’t been made public before (http://www.yakima-herald.com/page/dis/287910043145318), including charges that Mitchell had:
- admitted that he had gone to other websites that showed naked boys, and had explained to a church employee ‘why he had downloaded the pictures’
- given beer and numerous gifts to one minor, held boys-only dinners and game nights at his home, let young men spend the night at the rectory, took a minor on a European trip, and let one minor live at the rectory with the priest for weeks one summer
- introduced the minor to others as his "godson" and himself as his "godfather,"
- urged at least two Catholics to remain quiet about the whole situation
The allegations come from testimony given in December 2005 to a church panel by the individual who discovered the nude boy photos on Mitchell's computer in 2003.
Mitchell also worked at a second St. Louis parish: St. Joseph’s in Clayton. When reports of the allegations against him in Washington surfaced in St. Louis, he abruptly resigned.
(See 11 more news accounts about Mitchell at BishopAccountability.org)
Lenczycki worked at DePaul and Deaconess (now Forest Park) hospitals as a chaplain, and at three area parishes: St. Blaise Parish in Maryland Heights, North American Martyrs in Florissant and St. George’s in south St. Louis County.
2) Proven, admitted or credibly accused priests sent here or disclosed as living here in recent years.
In June 2008, Wisconsin's highest court approved the pending prosecution of Fr. Bruce D. MacArthur, another Wisconsin predator priest. He too lives at RECON. MacArthur is accused of molesting several girls and (according to one newspaper) “was indicted in the attempted rape of a 54-year-old patient at the Four Seasons Nursing Home (in El Paso). The victim could not speak or control her motor skills because of a congenital disease.”
At least one of MacArthur’s sex abuse victims has sued and received a settlement.
-- Roberts, Mark
-- Fr. Gerald Funcheon (from Indiana)
3) In 2002, the Post Dispatch reported that the following proven criminal clerics from out of state were living in the area:
“Eight registered sex offenders who live at the Vianney Center and Wounded Brothers include priests and religious brothers (who) were removed from active ministry by their religious superiors.”
“Officials of the two centers declined to identify anyone who lives there or to say where they are from. But eight names on the county registers listed addresses that match the centers', and the names also match with news reports of criminal convictions and information from prosecutors and probation offices: •
-- Ronald Sam Gilardi, 54, a priest who pleaded guilty last year of molesting a boy at the Catholic high school in Hays, Kansas
-- Leonard B. Nienaber, 95, formerly a monsignor in Lexington, Ky., who pleaded guilty in 1994 of molesting children in his parish
-- Robert Brouillette, 60, a former member of the Christian Brothers, who had been an administrator at a boy's high school in Chicago. Brouillette was found guilty in 2000 of indecent solicitation of a child and of disseminating child pornography over the Internet.
-- Thomas S. Schaefer, 76, and Alphonsus Smith, 77, both priests from Washington. They were among four priests who were indicted in Prince George's County, Md., in 1995 on charges of sexually abusing nine boys in the 1970s and 1980s. Schaefer and Smith pleaded guilty in 1996.
-- John Moniz, 80, formerly a Jesuit brother in San Jose, Calif., who was found guilty in 1995 of having a girl, 4, fondle him. His probation ended in 1998.
-- David J. Malsch, 62, a priest in Tomahawk, Wis., who was convicted in 1993 of fondling a boy, 14, in a swimming pool. In 2000, after Malsch's sentence was completed, a court in Wisconsin ordered him to remain indefinitely at Wounded Brothers.
-- Donald Stavinoha, 66, a priest in Houston who was sentenced in 1988 to almost 10 years for a sex act with a 9-year-old boy he was counseling at his parish. A parishioner who also was a police officer discovered the encounter. Stavinoha served three years in a Texas prison and was released from parole in 1997.
4) Other out-of-state accused pedophile priests who live/lived and/or work/worked here but we don’t have conclusive proof they came here for ‘treatment’ of housing related to abuse:
-- Nicholas “Brother Vic” Bendillo (Alabama)
-- James McGreal (Seattle)
-- Joseph Fertal (California)
-- Joseph E. Shannon (from New Jersey)
-- Robert J. Wells (from Alaska)
-- Joseph L. Welsh (Boston)
-- Jean Baptiste Ormechea (Illinois, Kentucky)
-- Juan Carlos Duran (Tennessee)
Why is all of this troubling? Because a change of location doesn’t cure a serial pedophile or a sex offender. Many of these men are considered so dangerous by their own bishops that they
At least three other priests - Father Victor Frobas, Father Romano Ferraro and Father Ken Roberts - molested children in St. Louis. They were sent here from their home dioceses after molesting kids. (Lawsuits have been filed against the latter two. Ferraro was sentenced to prison for abusing.)
It’s also troubling because almost nothing about these men and their presence or work in the St. Louis archdiocese was disclosed by church officials. In almost every case, this crucial information surfaced because of brave victims, determined journalists, concerned whistleblowers or diligent law enforcement professionals.
In fairness to Archbishop Burke, this pattern of sending pedophile priests to St. Louis escalated but did not begin with him. It’s been going on for years. (In the 1990s, the Post Dispatch reported that one of America’s most prolific and notorious predator priests, Fr. James Porter of Massachusetts, was sent here.)
Burke could have stopped, slowed, or reversed this trend. He could have at least been ‘open and transparent’ about this and other sex abuse cases, as he and his brother bishops have repeatedly pledged to be since 2002. Instead, he expanded this recklessness and secrecy.
Burke could have also been more prudent and honest regarding the assignments and housing of local predator priests.
Besides Bryce, there are at least three other local archdiocesan priests still working in parishes today despite child sex abuse allegations against them. They are Fr. Alex Anderson, Fr. Robert Osborne, and Fr. Bruce Foreman.
-- In June 2008, Anderson was named a pastor in DeSoto, Missouri. He is accused of molesting three boys, none of whom know each other. The archdiocese paid one of his victims $22,500. Anderson sued one of his accusers for slander, and vowed to take his victim to court unless a number of concessions were met (a written retraction of the allegation, the removing Anderson’s name from the SNAP website, etc.) None of those conditions were met.
-- Osborne worked in a Kirkwood parish even though he was accused of molesting boys, admitting giving liquor to kids, and left his post at Vianney High School because of the allegations. His supervisors, the Marianists, won’t re-assign him to any of their schools or facilities across the country. Osborne was sued and his victim received a substantial settlement.
-- Even now, Fr. Bruce Forman is pastor of Sts. Peter & Paul, a city parish. He’s also in charge of the Young Catholic Musicians. Both the New York Times and St. Louis Post Dispatch have mentioned him in articles as an accused molester. At least one civil lawsuit was filed against him.
Regarding the housing of local predator priests, consider Regina Cleri in Shrewsbury. In 2005, SNAP publicly disclosed that eight or nine proven, admitted or credibly accused archdiocesan priests were living there. Burke told the Post Dispatch the nun overseeing the sex offenders “is very strict - their comings and goings, everything is monitored. She is right on top of things."
However, the nun in charge told the Post Dispatch that the priests in question serve as the facility's "volunteer employees" doing everything from driving older priests to the hospital or drugstore to fixing computers. She admitted “she does not monitor the men if they go to a movie or for a walk. ‘I don't police them like that. I would trust them all. I would.’”
(Among the pedophile priests at Regina Cleri: Michael Campbell, Hugh Creason, Alfred Fitzgerald, and Robert Johnston)
For other information on Burke and the on-going abuse/cover up scandal, please see:
Remember – this is a partial list, culled almost exclusively from what’s already in the public record. We know of and suspect there are other predatory clergy – both local and out-of-state – who live/lived and/or work/worked here in St. Louis but who have never been publicly exposed or ‘caught.’
For a list of publicly accused, admitted, proven and credibly accused St. Louis area clerics (priests, seminarians, brothers, nuns), go to SNAPmidwest.org and click on “Publicly Accused.”
Or go to BishopAccountability.org and click on the map of Missouri.
If you have additions or edits to this list, please contact us. If you have information about suspected child abuse (current or prior), please contact law enforcement or us. Thank you.
For more information:
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests