With or Without Names, St. Louis Archdiocese's "Matrix" of Sex Offenders Leaves Questions

Categories: Crime

matrix_archdiocese2.jpg
An excerpt from the St. Louis Archdiocese's sex offender "matrix."
It has been a week of starts and stops for Ken Chackes, the attorney representing Jane Doe, a young woman who claims she was sexually abused in the late 1990s and early 2000s at the hands of the now de-frocked priest Father Joseph Ross.

Last week the Missouri Court of Appeals upheld a ruling by St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Robert Dierker demanding that the St. Louis Archdiocese turn over to Chackes and the victim, now in her early twenties, the names of 115 of its employees accused of molesting children from 1983 to 2003. But the ruling was fleeting. On Monday the archdiocese won a stay from the Missouri Supreme Court that, at best, will further delay the release of the names or, at worst, ensure they remain a secret as the Church desires.

But even if the names of the accused and the victims are turned over, it's unclear what impact they'll have at trial.

See also: The Sordid Allegations Against Father Joseph Ross

joseph ross.jpg
bishopaccountability.org
Joseph Ross
For one, the "matrix" of sex allegations that the archdiocese wanted to keep under wraps (but which sneaked out as part of its appellate filing), is incredibly vague even with the inclusion of names. Secondly, the archdiocese's cat-and-mouse game in court -- with Dierker threatening to charge the archdiocese with contempt for dragging its feet -- has already cost Chackes and his client precious time for discovery. The trial is slated to begin in a scant five weeks on February 24.

"[The matrix] answers questions as to the number of people reporting cases to the archdiocese, but it also leaves a lot questions unanswered," notes Chackes. "It's going to require a lot more digging to be able to present a full picture at trial of the nature of the complaints and how they were handled."

Chackes notes that the matrix (on display for your perusal on the following page) simply lists all 234 complaints made between 1983 and 2003 as "alleged sexual abuse of a minor" or "alleged inappropriate conduct" without providing any more details. Moreover, it's often impossible to tell who received the complaints with "archdiocese" often listed as the point person. All the more confusing is the outcome of the allegations. The archdiocese claims that it found 39 of the allegations to be "unsubstantiated." And while the archdiocese's spreadsheet indicates that police and Department of Family Services were notified of some allegations, it's unclear what became of other complaints, for example those in which the archdiocese "made a report" or "referred to religious order."

Jane Doe and Chackes need this information in order to demonstrate that their case was part of a pattern wherein the archdiocese shifted accused priests from one parish to another in reckless disregard of what could happen. Father Ross, for what it's worth, was assigned to St. Cronan's Church in south St. Louis after admitting he molested a boy in the 1980s while at Christ the King Church in University City. Moreover, he's accused of telling the alleged victim at St. Cronan's that she was helping him overcome his sexuality because he "liked boys more than girls."

Per Judge Dierker's ruling, should Chackes and his client get the names of other alleged victims, they could only contact them through an intermediary. That process would further delay discovery, but it's a start. Better, says Chackes, would be for the archdiocese to simply turn over its full reports as requested.

The archdiocese didn't immediately respond to a request for comment for this story, but given its actions throughout the case, it seems a pipe dream that the church would start cooperating with the plaintiff now.

Says Chackes of the fast-approaching trial: "We will need more cooperation from the archdiocese."

Continue on for a view inside the "matrix"....


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9 comments
fosilize
fosilize

Until the passive pew potatoes wake up, take their blinders off and stop aiding and abetting the institutional church with financial support, there will be little justice for the victims.

Dahmen Piotraschke
Dahmen Piotraschke

What is going on...they are minor children!!!..if u have to be a predator, go after 18-20 yo. They look like kids to me but regardless these children are gonna b sooo messed up!! Unlock the names..justice and retribution are in order as any other criminal inside jail..holy fuck the church and its secrets.

snapjudy
snapjudy

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 and
sometimes even their family members. They also 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

Sexual predators are often powerful and well-loved. It would be comforting if
those who preyed on the vulnerable were obvious social misfits whose appearance
would somehow set off alarm bells and give us the willies or the creeps. They
rarely do. Usually, predators are among the last people we would suspect of
sexually violating others.  While they are grooming the child and even family members, 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.

Also, we must stop thinking that because a man is old, that somehow he's automatically safe. It's just irresponsible to endanger kids by assuming an adult is harmless simply because he or she may be losing hair, wearing glasses, using hearing aids or walking with a cane. These can be signs of advancing age, but they are not signs that an individual is safe around kids.

It takes a lot of courage to come forward and take action about being sexually abused. This is not an easy thing to do, but 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.
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, 636-433-2511, snapjudy@gmail.com
SNAP "Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests"

snapjudy
snapjudy


115 child sex abusers reported to the St Louis Archdiocese by 234 accusing victims between 1983 and 2003.?... It is hard to comprehend how many precious innocent children have been harmed within this diocese. The victims are very brave for speaking up even before the real explosion of child sex abuse within the Catholic church came to light after 2002. We can't even begin to image how many kids have been so badly harmed only because they happened to believe and trust. And this number does not include how many more priests/employees have been accused of child abuse since 2003.
If anyone has knowledge or may have been harmed by anyone in this diocese, please get help and find the courage to come forward and contact police or at least speak to someone you can trust. 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, 636-433-2511, snapjudy@gmail.comSNAP "Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests"

Ray Brockman
Ray Brockman

Looks like Confessing Sin is for other`s , not the Catholic Church Leadership

Deb45
Deb45

There is a known pedophile still at St. Rapheal in St. Louis Hills and the school/Archdiocese does nothing about it. I pity the parents who send their boys there daily & believe they are safe.

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