The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Priest “under investigation” worked in Missouri recently, SNAP discloses
Statement by David Clohessy, National Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ([email protected], 314-566-9790)
According to an official memo from last week by Archbishop Robert Carlson, apparently sent only to priests, a cleric who worked in Fargo, ND has been working in Missouri without permission or authorization. We are concerned about him.
The priest is Fr. Augustine Alilonu, who has been active at the St. Genevieve Deanery in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. He has also worked in the Springfield-Cape Girardeau diocese as recently as May 2010.
We have no reports of sexual allegations against him. Still, we’re worried because of the unusual and vague language in this archdiocesan memo (below). According to one church source, he “is currently the subject of an ongoing canonical investigation.”
If Fr. Alilonu is suspect or potentially dangerous enough to warn priests about, then parishioners and the public should be warned too.
Over the years, thanks to concerned, brave whistleblowers and church insiders, we’ve seen a number of these kinds of announcements. If the priest is guilty of or accused of financial misdeeds or doctrinal impurity, usually church officials are clear about that. Using vague language often means the real issue is sexual impropriety.
If Fr. Alilonu is accused of or guilty of swindling elderly widows of their money, parishioners and the public need and deserve to know this. If Fr. Alilonu is accused of or guilty of sexually exploiting vulnerable adults, parishioners and the public need and deserve to know this. And if Fr. Alilonu is accused of or guilty of molesting kids, parishioners and the public need and deserve to know this.
Again, we don’t know if Fr. Alilonu’s alleged misdeeds are sexual, though we fear they may be. We do, however, know that even now, despite a decade of promises to be open and transparent about predator priests, bishops still write and speak in ‘code,’ using euphemisms and deliberately avoiding straightforward language.
We call on Archbishop Carlson, and other Catholic officials, to be more forthcoming about Fr. Alilonu. If there are no sexual accusations against him, say so. If his alleged misconduct is doctrinal or financial, say so. Catholics and citizens need and deserve honesty from the archdiocese, especially considering its long and troubling track record of secrecy surrounding clergy misdeeds, sexual and otherwise.
According to various church documents, Fr. Alilonu worked
--In Cape Girardeau, at St. Mary Cathedral parish (in the Springfield-Cape Girardeau diocese)
--In Frederickstown MO, at St. Michael parish (in the Springfield-Cape Girardeau diocese)
--In the St. Genevieve area (in the St. Louis archdiocese, see below)
--In Georgia at an unspecified location
--In Jamestown, ND at St. James Basilica (in the Fargo diocese).
He reportedly graduated in 2000 from Mt. St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, MD.
Here’s the actual memo from Carlson to St. Louis archdiocesan priests:
TO: The Priests of the Archdiocese of St. Louis
This past April, I sent you a memo regarding Reverend Augustine Alilonu, a priest of the Diocese of Fargo, who was suspended from the exercise of priestly ministry on January 3, 2011, by Bishop Samuel Aquila, after he failed to return to the Diocese of Fargo as requested to account for his whereabouts and activities. As a result, Father Alilonu is not permitted to celebrate Mass or otherwise administer the sacraments or provide spiritual care.
It has come to my attention that Father Augustine Alilonu has been active recently in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, particularly in the Ste. Genevieve Deanery. I want to reiterate that Father Alilonu does not have the faculties of his home diocese and he does not have faculties or permission to function in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Please be aware of this information and act accordingly.
Be aware that, if Reverend Alilonu contacts you and offers to provide priestly ministry, solicits financial assistance for any fundraising activities, or otherwise solicits your assistance with his personal needs, he is doing so against the instructions of Bishop Aquila and, therefore, is not representing the Catholic Church or the Diocese of Fargo.
If you have any information regarding Father Alilonu, contact Nancy J. Werner, Chancellor of the Archdiocese, as soon as possible at 314.792.7836 or [email protected]
(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 23 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, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, [email protected])
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests