Three Priests Left Off New List - Jefferson City, MO
Three publicly accused priests left off new list
Two were in Jeff City area & attracted national attention
SNAP also worries about 18 new church abuse reports
It wants Catholic officials to "move quickly " with them
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will dsiclose the names and histories of three publicly accused child molesting clerics who were in the Jeff City diocese but were left off a recently-posted list of such men.
They will also call on mid-Missouri's top Catholic official to
--move quickly to resolve the 18 new abuse reports made since August, and any made since that time,
--give more details about each one of the "credibly accused" abusers that have already been identified -- current whereabouts, assignment history, dates each known allegation was reported, and date of removal from ministry, and
--aggressively reach out to victims, witnesses and whistle blowers, urging them to contact the Attorney General's office to report wrongdoing immediately.
TODAY, Thursday, Nov. 29 at 1:15 p.m.
On the sidewalk outside the Cathedral of St.Joseph, 2215 West Main St, Jefferson City
Three victims and advocates who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, including a former priest and a St. Louis man who was the group's long time executive director
1) Three weeks ago, Jefferson City Bishop Shawn McKnight released the names of local clerics who the diocese had determined are "credibly accused" of molesting kids. However, three clerics who have been publicly accused child molestation were omitted. The men are Fr. John C. Baskett, Fr. Fred A. Lenczycki, and Fr. Kenneth J. Roberts. Details about all three can be found below.
2) Last month, Bishop McKnight also disclosed that he and his staff had gotten 18 more reports of alleged child sexual abuse since August, and that internal investigations into some of those claims were ongoing. SNAP hopes that all of the allegations were first passed along to law enforcement. The group also wants the bishop to "move carefully but thoroughly" to complete this process and "to disclose church officials' initial judgment of the allegations - "credible" or "not credible" - soon and individually." Waiting months or years and then announcing the results in one fell swoop "enables those who commit or conceal these crimes to intimidate witnesses, discredit whistle blowers, discourage victims, destroy evidence, or flee the country."
3) The bishop has so far not divulged where across the sprawling diocese the "credibly accused" abusers worked. SNAP feels these assignment histories would be helpful to police, prosecutors, parents and the public.
4) Finally, while SNAP is highly skeptical of Attorney General Josh Hawley's probe, the group wants Missouri Catholic officials to use pulpit announcements, parish bulletins, and diocesan websites to prod victims, witnesses and whistle blowers to make reports.
Here's information on the three publicly accused priests that Bishop McKnight left off his list:
--Fr. John C. Baskett worked in Boonville and Tipton and was accused in 2007 of abusing a 15-year-old girl for two years and using alcohol to incapacitate her. A lawsuit against him was settled in 2008. He worked in two other Missouri dioceses (Kansas City and Springfield-Cape Girardeau), then moved to North Carolina and worked as a military chaplain.
-- Fr. Kenneth J. Roberts. On 10/4/09, the Columbia Missourian reported that Roberts "(has) ties to mid-Missouri." He lived in Osage Beach, was ordained as a Dallas priest, and traveled the US lecturing and promoting his book “From Playboy to Priest.” According to BishopAccountability.org, he was originally sent to Missouri for treatment and is accused of molesting at least seven boys including one in Belleville, IL. Roberts also had an apartment in St. Louis.
-- Fr. Frederick A. Lenczycki worked at two mid-Missouri churches in the mid-1980s (pages 10-13), Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Columbia and another parish in St. James. The priest was arrested and convicted in 2004 of abusing three boys in the Joliet area, where he was ordained. SNAP believes Fr. Lenczycki was the first US priest in history to be deemed a "sexually violent predator." Because of that designation, he was kept behind bars even after having served his sentence. According to one news account, he “is believed to have molested an estimated 31 boys in three states over his 25 year career as a priest.” Lenczycki was released from custody in 2009 and lived in Berkeley (a Chicago suburb) as a registered sex offender. However, his current whereabouts are unknown.Over his career, he was sent to at least five dioceses.
Fr. Lenczycki and Fr. Roberts are still alive.
Jeff City church officials may claim these priests weren't ordained here, weren't officially working here, didn't ever officially work here or aren't found in their records. SNAP doubt these claims anad believes they are irrelevant. Child rape or assault is equally devastating no matter where the predator was hired or who signs his paycheck. And the "not in our records" excuse is even more irrelevant. The documents proving these priests were in the Jeff City diocese are court records that were obtained through subpoenas and other legal moves from church officials themselves.
What matters is not why they were in mid-Missouri, or for how long. (It takes just seconds for a man to shove his hands down a child's pants or his tongue in a child's mouth.) What matters is that they were here, may have hurt local kids, and McKnight has a duty to seek out and help any of their victims.
Photos and more information about all three men are available at BishopAccountability.org
There are 81,000 Catholics in 95 parishes in the Jeff City diocese. McKnight was appointed to the diocese last November.