Victims Blast Bishop - 2:30 PM SNAP Presser in Jefferson City Today
Victims accuse diocese of keeping secrets
Another alleged abuser was "quietly ousted"
Church tells flock, but not public, about priest
SNAP: "Where's your promised 'transparency?'"
Group also 'outs' another mid-MO alleged perpetrator
It also reveals workplaces of two others who are accused
SNAP wants church & university officials to “do real outreach”
"Diocese should also update & expand its accused list," SNAP says
Holding childhood photos and signs at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will:
--blast Jeff City's Catholic bishop for "keeping secrets" about a just-ousted priest,
--disclose that the priest worked in Columbia as well as Jeff City,
--reveal the name of another publicly accused abusive priest who worked in mid-MO, and
--expose a third publicly accused abusive clerict who worked nearby.
(Only one of them is on the Jefferson City diocese’s list of accused clerics.)
They will also prod
--diocesan and University of Missouri officials to “aggressively reach out to ex-staff, members and students” who may have been hurt by the just-ousted accused priest, and
--mid-Missouri’s Catholic bishop to do the same.
Tuesday, March 19 at 2:30 p.m.
Outside the Jeff City Catholic diocese HQ, 2207 West Main Street in Jefferson City, MO
Two victims and advocates who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, including a St. Louis man who was the group's former long time executive director and who was abused by a mid-MO priest
1---Last week, a mid-Missouri priest accused of abuse was quietly suspended. The Diocese apparently told only one parish but not the public, the diocese as a whole or other places where the cleric worked or where he attended.
The clergyman is Fr. Geoffrey A. Brooke Jr. who was at Immaculate Church in Jefferson City ([email protected], 573 635 6143) when he was put on administrative leave. Before that he was at the Newman Center on the University of Missouri campus (573 449 5424). According to church records, he also “provided weekend fill-in supply work” at various parishes in mid-Missouri and spent four years in Rome.
Fr. Brooke also worked in Washington DC with the Catholic News Service.
The priest previously had a website
and a Twitter account, @PadreGeoffrey.
SNAP wants diocesan staff and University of Missouri officials to “aggressively reach out” to current or former Catholics and MU staff or students “who may have been hurt by Fr. Brooke" either in Jeff City or Columbia.”
(NOTE: another priest with multiple allegations of sexually abusing minors, Fr. John Whiteley, worked at the Newman Center from 1983-1991)
2---Last month, Catholic officials in Louisiana revealed that Fr. Louis Senesac was a credibly accused child molesting cleric. SNAP has discovered that he worked in at least one mid-Missouri church: St. Mary’s in Glasgow (40 miles northwest of Columbia).
Fr. Senesac who died in 1966, was a priest of the Clerics of Saint Viator (847 398 1350). He was removed from active ministry in the Alexandria diocese. He was in Glasgow from 1958-60 but the allegations against him were only revealed by Louisiana church figures this year.
3) In December, the diocese added three names to its list of 33 priests and religious brothers 'credibly accused' and/or removed from ministry.
SNAP has learned that one of them, Fr. Melvin J. Lahr, worked at Sacred Heart parish in Columbia and also helped bring the Teens Encounter Christ movement to the diocese.
According to a blogger who was a Jeff City seminarian, Fr. Lahr, who is believed to be still alive, also worked in Hannibal, Bourbon, Salisbury, St. Martin’s Canton, Russellville and Boonville (where he was both a parish priest and a chaplain at Boonville Training School for Boys).
SNAP wants current and former mid-Missouri Catholic church staff and members - in Jeff City, Columbia, Glasgow and elsewhere - to seek out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered any crimes or potential crimes by all three priests, Fr. Brooke, Fr. Senesac, and Fr. Lahr.
And SNAP wants Bishop McKnight to add both Fr. Brooke and Fr. Senesac to the diocese’s to the diocese’s list of priests and religious brothers 'credibly accused' and/or removed from ministryand aggressively reach out to “anyone with information or suspicions about the three clerics.”
It’s especially important to do so, SNAP says, because:
--Law enforcement has been increasingly aggressive, creative and successful at pursuing even older sex crimes, so it’s possible that Fr. Brooke or Fr. Lahr might be prosecuted, and
--Missouri’s attorney general is currently investigating how Catholic bishops across Missouri have dealt with and are dealing with clergy sex crimes and cover ups.
David Clohessy 314 566 9790, [email protected], Don Asbee 573 864 1459, Zach Hiner 517 974 9009, [email protected]