Archbishop Robert Carlson Seeks to Dismiss Sex Abuse Lawsuit, Argues Archdiocese Isn't Liable

robert-carlson-archbishop.jpg
via archstl.org
Archbishop Robert Carlson.
Last month, a Lincoln county family filed a lawsuit against St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson alleging that he tried to cover up a sex abuse case involving a local priest and even attempted to tamper with incriminating evidence. The priest in question is Father Xiu Hui "Joseph" Jiang who reportedly has very close ties to Carlson -- and who is accused of repeatedly molesting a teenage girl.

Now, Carlson has filed a formal response to the suit, asking the courts to dismiss it, arguing that neither he nor the Archdiocese of St. Louis is liable.

Victims' rights advocates say this move is not surprising but still troubling. "It's like no matter what the facts are or what the allegations are, his response is stunningly uniform: 'You can't hold me responsible,'" David Clohessy, executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, tells Daily RFT.

See also: St. Louis Archdiocese Cancels Event to Pray for "Exoneration" of Priest Accused of Sex Abuse

SNAP, along with the attorneys representing the accuser, say the case against Jiang and the Archdiocese is unique for several reasons. Notably, the accusations refer to very recent incidents; Jiang, according to the suit, molested the girl several times last year and admitted his actions to the victims' parents in June of 2012. The suit also says notes clear evidence of the abuse -- including text messages from Jiang who allegedly tried to pay off the family.

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Father Joseph Jiang's mugshot.

Additionally, this may be the first time that Carlson has ever been subpoenaed in a criminal case.

In the case of Jiang, there is both an ongoing criminal case and civil suit. The abuse is said to have occurred inside the home of the victim, whose family was reportedly very close to the priest.

Carlson's response doesn't necessarily address the accusations head-on but argues that legally, he and the Archdiocese of St. Louis cannot be liable on any of the counts. An excerpt:

Under Missouri law, a corporate entity on its own cannot commit battery.... Even if the Court were to construe Count I of Plaintiff's Petition as pleading a claim for vicarious liability, Plaintiffs would still not state a cause of action because sexual assault and battery are not within the course and scope of the employment of priests.

While the lawsuit alleges that the Archdiocese "aided and abetted" Jiang's alleged actions, "Missouri courts have declined to extend liability under the theories attempted by Plaintiffs," says the motion to dismiss.

Citing past cases, the filing also says, "Because the Missouri Supreme Court has determined that a claim of negligence against a religious entity (or its religious leaders) in this situation violates the First Amendment, Plaintiff fails to state a claim against the Archdiocese or Archbishop Carlson for negligence."

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Photo by Andrew Balet
Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.

Clohessy says it's hypocritical of the Archdiocese not to offer a substantive response to the accusations -- and for Carlson to claim he is not responsible.

"He repeatedly promised to be open and transparent...and yet it's been now more than a month since these fairly shocking charges were made and he's chosen not to give an answer," he says. "A real, straightforward answer."

"You could summarize this motion in one sentence. 'Whether or not I did any of these things doesn't matter. Missouri law says I can't be held responsible. The case against me should be tossed,'" he continues.

Continue for the full motion and information on one significant footnote in the filing.

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20 comments
riverfronttimes
riverfronttimes

All who sleep tonight in a Catholic homeless shelter, hospital, orphanage, or even the home of one of the faithful who has taken you in, I wish peace and hope upon you.  We face many troubles and challenges in this modern society where evil preys upon every one of us, whether we are members of a church or not. The terrible events in the news will swell power to close homeless shelters, hospitals, orphanages, and hearts counting the compassioned as guilty.  resist.  forgive.  heal.

sex abuse must be fought with every fiber of our being...but not at the expense of the poor and the marginalized in our society.  Let not this hatred punish innocent victims.  Rise up.  Give of your wisdom and substance.  Forgive and seek healing of the oppressed.  The cycle of death prevails if we do not.

100000victims
100000victims

The St. Louis Archdiocese covers for their priests knowing full well that there are many sexually abusive narcissist devils. They don't care that these men are molesting both adults and children,, they just don't want to pay for it. They use intimidation on the victims. How do I know?? I am one.

mike1969
mike1969

Will folks ever have the guts to stand up to the dysfunctional sex freaks within the ranks of catholic church hierarchy?

Mike Ference

FrankLaFerriere
FrankLaFerriere

The Unholy Roman Catholic Church of Degenerates and Degenerate Defenders all need to be put into prison. You defend these scum, well that makes YOU just as guilty as they are.

Each and every Cardinal, Archbishop and Bishop against whom there is overwhelming evidence against they covered up these crimes, from Cardinals such as Timothy Dolan, Roger Mahony, Donald Wuerl, George Pell and too many others to name, to Bishops and Archbishops...each and every one of these low life scum belong in prison for their crimes and any parishioner who stands up and defends these child rapists and child rapist protectors belong in the same prison cell with them.

How do you parishioners of the Unholy Roman Catholic Church of Degenerates and Degenerate Protectors can even look at yourselves in a mirror....you are all just as sick and twisted as your child rapists.

As a survivor of priest rape and torture, from a priest with St Thomas More parish in Durham NH in March of 1975, I condemn all of you parishioners, all of your leaders and all of your priests and nuns. You are all equally guilty in my eyes, whether you raped a child or not. If you do NOT demand the immediate arrest and trials of all those leaders of yours you damn well know covered up this evil, the rape of your own children, then you stand condemned right besdes them...in my eyes and in the eyes of Jesus Christ himself.

1868CCC
1868CCC

This is not the only potential cover up in the St. Louis Archdiocese sporting Archbishop Carlson's fingerprints.  However, the archbishop manages to hush those "in the know" using the same strategy he found successful in prior diocese:  Speak the truth.  Lose your job!

jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

I'm starting to find it quite likely that Bill Hannegen is just as big of a child molester as the pederast priests he defends non stop. You're a sick fuck Bill.

Couch Pig
Couch Pig

the Catholics really look up to these people that are sexual deviants capitalizing on them

snapclohessy
snapclohessy

Bill - The police and prosecutors have the text messages and the phone message and the $20,000 check. 

David Clohessy of SNAP, 314 566 9790

dalediversity
dalediversity topcommenter

Shouldn't we just assume all priests are molesters until proven otherwise?  

snapjudy
snapjudy

Not surprising at all that Carlson claims that he can not be held responsible, Bishops use every kind of legal technicality they an find to not be held accountable. BUT, that doesn't mean that the abuse did not happen!

Bishops biggest fear is being subpoenaed to give testimony.. or having their church documents subpoenaed.  The full truth would be exposed, and therefore their power and image could be damaged, or they could actually land themselves in jail for enabling and empowering child predators to abuse more kids.

So,

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. It takes a lot of courage to come forward and take action to expose the truth about being sexually abused. Let's hope that anyone who may have knowledge or may have been harmed by Fr Jiang, will find the courage and strength to come forward and contact police, no matter how long ago it happened. Keep in mind 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)

snapdorris
snapdorris

It’s interesting what Archbishop Robert Carlson does NOT say, either in public or in his new eight page legal response.

He doesn’t say “Fr. Jiang never admitted his crimes to me." (In their civil suit, that’s what the parents say happened.)

He doesn’t say “I never called the girl’s mom.” (In their civil suit, that’s what the parents say happened.)

He doesn’t say “I never asked anyone to turn over the $20,000 check to me.” (In their civil suit, that’s what the girl’s parents say Carlson did.)

He doesn’t even say “I think Fr. Jiang is innocent.”

In a footnote, he does say the charge that he tried to tamper with evidence is "baseless." But again, he refuses to say whether he called the mom or asked for Jiang’s $20,000 check. Why won’t he just come clean and answer even these two simple questions?

Barbara Dorris, SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, 314 503 0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com


BillHannegan
BillHannegan

We don't believe the texts and e-mails in question will amount to anything. SNAP and Ken Chackes are just bluffing.

neil.allen.76
neil.allen.76

@jaco1175 actually, his son just joined the Catholic priesthood, so it is more likely that his son is the pedophile and he is just defending his son and his son's pals

neil.allen.76
neil.allen.76

@BillHannegan why doesn't the Catholic church publish their "secret archives", which every bishop hides, and which contain documentation about known child rapists?

BillHannegan
BillHannegan

@snapdorris , I agree 100 percent! Archbishop Carlson should openly admit that he believes all the allegations against Fr. Joseph Jiang are phony and that Fr. Joseph is innocent!

neil.allen.76
neil.allen.76

@BillHannegan Defend the pedophile and fight the victim.  That is the Catholic way.  Doing the opposite of What Jesus Would Do.

neil.allen.76
neil.allen.76

  @BillHannegan @snapdorris which means that he knows that Fr Joseph is guilty, but he just won't tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth unless he is forced to do so.

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