LeRoy Valentine: Decades After First Alleged Child Sex Abuse, St. Louis Priest Removed

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via
Archbishop Robert Carlson.
Another day, another dispute with the St. Louis Archdiocese regarding allegations of child sex abuse. The case of Father LeRoy Valentine, however, involves a long and complicated history of accusations that span several decades and allegations of repeated inaction by those in charge. And victims' advocates say the archdiocese today is still trying to downplay Valentine's proven abuse.

"This is disturbing," David Clohessy, executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, tells Daily RFT. "Rather than err on the side of being open and transparent, [St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson] chooses to be vague and deceptive."

The support group for clergy abuse victims -- in response to a recent announcement that Valentine has been permanently removed from ecclesiastical ministry -- is alleging that officials with the archdiocese failed to supervise Valentine over the last eleven years and is trying to cover up some of the past cases of sex abuse today.

Archdiocese officials, however, say in a statement that they investigated all accusations and properly responded to allegations they found to be "credible." Valentine, they say, "will continue to live in a monitored, secure environment."

"With sadness I inform you that an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against one of our priests was found to be substantiated by an independent Advisory Board," Carlson says in a written statement on May 1. "The board, made up of lay persons, found the allegations against Fr. LeRoy Valentine, who served in the archdiocese from 1977-2002 and then retired, to be credible. The incidents took place in the 1970's, but were only recently brought to our attention.... Fr. Valentine is now permanently removed from ecclesiastical ministry, and I have taken steps to inform the parishes where he served."

He adds, "Sexual abuse of a minor is a sin and a crime. Today we pray for the healing of victims of abuse and for the safety of all children everywhere."

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(Valentine, officials say, has not been laicized -- commonly referred to as "defrocked" -- but he has been "permanently removed," which means he does not have an assignment at any parish in the archdiocese and will not be given an assignment at any parish again).

Clohessy, however, argues that the statement and the accompanying article of the archdiocese's official paper, the St. Louis Review, brushes aside a much more complex history of sex abuse.

SNAP points to a 2002 New York Times story on Valentine's resignation amid accusations that he had abused three young north county brothers.

The Times reported that the archdiocese had paid these brothers $20,000 each in a "confidential settlement" that required them to stay silent -- but when they learned that Valentine was still working at the parish, they broke the confidentiality agreement and told their story.

At that time, a new accuser had emerged who said he was eight years old when Valentine molested him back in the early 1970s.

SNAP criticizes the archdiocese for neglecting to mention these past settlements, glossing over the former accusations and arguing that some accusations were not credible. And including Valentine's original statements of innocence in the archdiocese account is also cruel, SNAP argues.

"That's just mean. Archdiocesan officials obviously believe he's guilty of abuse," Clohessy says in a statement. "Why else, after multiple lawsuits and settlements, would they make an eleven year temporary suspension permanent unless they were convinced he's a predator?"

He adds, "Repeating Valentine's obviously discredited claim of innocence just rubs salt into the already very deep wounds of his victims."

In response to these additional criticisms from SNAP, Deacon Phil Hengen, director of child and youth protection for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, sends Daily RFT a statement, which says, in part:

The recent allegation, that was found to be credible, took place in 1978. The allegation involved inappropriate touching of a minor and was first made to archdiocesan officials in the Summer of 2012. An investigation began immediately. The Review Board concluded its process with Archbishop Carlson's announcement of Fr. Valentine's permanent removal from public ministry on May 1, 2013.

Continue for more of the archdiocese response and the full statements.

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5 comments
snapjudy
snapjudy

The sex abuse and cover up within the church hierarchy is still going on to this day. Cardinals and bishops are still covering up sex crimes against kids, they are still not removing accused predator clergy, and they still are not reporting to law enforcement. Their so called "zero tolerance" policy is not being followed by the bishops who created it. They don't have to, because there is no punishment to force the bishops to change their ways. They still work harder at protecting their image and the institution, rather than protecting innocent kids.

Something to keep in mind:
Child predators are very cunning and manipulative. They know every trick on how to groom, threaten, lie, and put the fear of god into their victims, yet they can also be charming and generous, While they are grooming the child, they devote lots of time and energy, building trust with them by giving them money and gifts. They tend to make the child feel that they are special and loved.
They appear to do a lot of goods things, they can be very charismatic and you may think they would never harm a child. They have to be this way, in order to not get caught and to continue to abuse
 
It is extremely rare that a child predator has only one victim. Some have many. Child predators need to be kept far away from kids forever, and "the church officials know this".
So let's hope that every person who saw, suspects or may have been harmed by LeRoy Valentine, will find the courage and strength to speak up and contact police, not the church officials. They are not the proper officials to be investigating child sex crimes no matter how long ago the abuse happened.

Keep in mind that child predators rarely have only one or two victims, some have many. So your silence only hurts, and by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others.

Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511. snapjudy@gmail.com,
"SNAP (The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

jimmconn
jimmconn

It is absolutely astounding to me that the hierarchy in the Catholic Church won't set an example, as leaders should, of simply telling the truth.  It's been too long now.  The foot dragging, hiding behind legal advice and just plain distortion of the truth has got to stop!  These are young children who are being affected for the rest of their lives!  Why can't the bishops see that and stand up like real men should, and say "I'm not going to be a part of this disgraceful behavior any longer."   A real shepherd knows the basic instructions - “Feed my lambs.”   “Tend my sheep.” “Feed my sheep."  John 21:15-17

skibrs
skibrs

Sadly, when Carlson was auxiliary bishop Archdiocese of St. Paul & Mpls. he was administratively involved in the enabling of notorious child abusing priest Tom Adamson.   Carlson's decade long (1984-1994) record in Minnesota IS NOT supportive of the souls of clergy abuse victims or their loving family.

His actions in St. Louis have very, very, very similar patterns and footings from his Minnesota days: Here's a shocking list of 174 accused Minnesota clerics, nuns and staff---http://mnsnap.wordpress.com/villainous-mn-clerics/

Jennifer Starkey
Jennifer Starkey

I've never seen that New York times link before and I am horrified. He was at our parish in the 80s. It makes me so angry and sick to my stomach that he was shuffled around to the different parishes. Those poor boys.

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