Top Catholic predator cleric who lives in St. Louis is in court today
By David Clohessy
An ex-priest in the St. Louis area, who is the most highly ranked and prominent US Catholic official to ever face criminal charges of child sexual abuse is back in a courtroom today.
Very few St. Louisans know that he and dozens of other predators from all across the US are living here. Sure, he’s old. Sure, the church center that houses him is ‘out in the boondocks.’ But that doesn’t mean he’s ‘cured’ and is now safe, nor that we should care less about the safety of rural kids. And virtually none of those predators in Dittmer - who’ve been deemed too dangerous, by their own church supervisors, to live back in their home dioceses - are known to St. Louis parents, police, prosecutors, or parishioners.
The cleric in court today is Theodore McCarrick, the only US Catholic cardinal, current or former, ever to be charged with child sex crimes. We hope his prosecution happens quickly. We hope that his victims feel some measure of relief and validation that he’s finally facing justice. And we hope that Catholic officials in St. Louis finally begin honoring their pledges to be ’open’ about abuse and disclose the names of the hundreds of out-of-state child molesting clerics who’ve been secretly welcomed into our archdiocese for decades.