The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Thursday, December 2, 2010
Archbishop meets with Sullivan, Missouri parishioners over financial 'irregularities'; SNAP responds
Statement by Barbara Dorris, outreach director 314 862 7688 [email protected]
We warned Anne Steffens of the archdiocese last year, in writing, about a report that Zacheis often brought boys onto his boat at the Lake of the Ozarks with no other adult around. (A copy of the archdiocesan reply to our e mail is below.)
We challenge Bishop Robert Hermann to publicly explain why he did not tell the full truth last year when Zacheis stepped aside.
We hope others who saw, suspected or suffered crimes or misdeed by Zacheis to call law enforcement officials, not church officials.
(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, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, [email protected]), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, [email protected])
Subj: Your Email to the ArchdioceseDear Mr. Clossey: I am the Director of the Office of Child and Youth Protection for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Your e-mail of yesterday to the Archdiocese regarding Fr. Dennis Zacheis was forwarded to me for response. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We take the concerns expressed in your e-mail very seriously. Should the woman re-contact you, please ask her to call or write me at the below listed telephone number and/or address. Deacon Phil Hengen, MSW
Director, Office of Child and Youth Protection
Archdiocese of St. Louis
20 Archbishop May Drive
St. Louis, Missouri 63119-5738
Phone: (314) 792-7704
Fax: (314) 792-7714
Email: [email protected]
The contents of this e-mail message and any attachments are confidential and may be legally privileged. This transmission is sent in trust, for the sole purpose of delivery to the intended recipient. If you have received this transmission in error, any use, reproduction or dissemination.
Archbishop meets with Sullivan parishioners over financial 'irregularities'
By Tim Townsend • [email protected] > 314-340-8221 www.STLtoday.com | (4) Comments | Posted: Thursday, December 2, 2010 12:30 am
SULLIVAN, Mo. -- St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson addressed parishioners of St. Anthony Catholic Church here on Wednesday night about $60,000 in "apparent irregularities" in their church's bookkeeping.
Internal and outside investigations into the missing money centered on St. Anthony's former pastor, the Rev. Dennis Zacheis, according to an audit by the St. Louis Archdiocese and obtained by the Post-Dispatch and the church's current pastor.
An investigation by the Franklin County prosecutor resulted in no charges being filed, according to the archdiocese.
After praying for healing in the parish about 65 miles southwest of St. Louis, Carlson told parishioners that the archdiocese turned up $300,000 in discrepancies after Zacheis' resignation in 2009. That finding triggered the audit, and Carlson reported the missing money to the police, he said.
Carlson said much of the $300,000 "came back to help the parish in a variety of ways," but auditors could not account for $60,311. The archbishop decided to reimburse the parish that amount from the archdiocesan insurance fund.
Before taking questions, Carlson asked all nonparishioners to leave the meeting.
Terri Miller, of the parish finance committee, which met with Carlson before the parishioner-wide assembly, said St. Anthony's was still struggling to deal with the division the issue has caused.
"This is a small town, and everybody knows everybody else," Miller said. "(The divide) is hard for us. It's caused some people to leave our parish."
The archdiocese said in April 2009 that Bishop Robert Hermann — then administrator of the archdiocese between the tenures of Archbishop (now Cardinal) Raymond Burke and Carlson — had removed Zacheis from the parish "for reasons of health."
In a letter to parishioners dated Nov. 1, St. Anthony's current pastor, the Rev. Paul Telken, said the Franklin County prosecutor's office investigated the missing money. The letter said prosecuting attorney Robert Parks informed church leaders in October he would not file charges.
Some parishioners said they were not satisfied with the $60,000 figure and suspect the amount missing could be twice that amount.
The audit mentions Zacheis repeatedly, including an entry that says the priest admitted to an archdiocesan financial official in July 2009 that he had paid the electric bill on his waterfront house in Lake of the Ozarks at various times with parish funds because he allowed "homeless people" to live there when he was not in residence.
Alan Vickers, a parish council member, said he considered Zacheis a friend and will remember the good he did for the church. But, he said, he has to remember the bad.
"It hurt me," Vickers said of the allegations. "I'm a Christian, and I feel if there was something done wrong, it'll come out, if not on this earth, then it'll come out when he meets his maker."
Zacheis has served at several parishes in the archdiocese and has run into trouble with parishioners in the past. In 2004, a parishioner insurrection at St. Alban Roe in Wildwood forced him out as pastor there even though he was supported by Burke.
Carlson did not speak to reporters after the meeting, but the archdiocese released a statement saying its pastors are expected to comply with its financial management manual and that internal audits are conducted regularly when a parish changes pastors.
Parishioners at the meeting said Carlson told them the archdiocese had found financial discrepancies at two other churches and those matters have been turned over to prosecuting attorneys for investigation.
Marlon A. Walker of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.
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Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests