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St. Louis Archdiocese Dismisses Victim's Abuse Claims as Lies, "Personal Issues" (VIDEO)

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Katie Pesha: "We simply do not believe her allegations are true."
Immediately after the Archdiocese of St. Louis settled a civil lawsuit Monday from a woman who accuses a priest of molesting her as a child, church officials went after the alleged victim, discrediting her claims and dismissing her as mentally ill.

The archdiocese admits that the accused ex-priest, Joseph Ross, sexually assaulted at least one boy before being defrocked in 2002. But in Monday's statement, executive director of communications Katie Pesha says the woman, known in the lawsuit only as Jane Doe 92, lied about her abuse and has "very personal issues" regarding her mental health.

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"Jane Doe 92 has been diagnosed, by her own treating doctors, with a medical condition that causes her to falsify claims, exaggerate symptoms and make inconsistent statements," Pesha says. "Her own doctors and expert witnesses voiced doubts about her allegations and noted that they contained multiple inconsistencies.

"We simply do not believe her allegations are true."

See also: St. Louis Archdiocese and Defrocked Priest Head to Trial Today on Sex Abuse Cover-Up

Jane Doe's attorney, Ken Chackes, the Circuit Attorney's Office and several therapists have supported her allegations.

"We believe a jury would have ultimately found that Fr. Ross raped Jane Doe 92," Chackes said Monday. "We must, however, take action to preserve her health and well-being. We agree with the archdiocese that there is no healing for Jane Doe 92 that would come from a three-week trial of these difficult and personal facts."

Jane Doe is accusing Ross of sexual assault, sometimes while he babysat her as her mother attended choir practice. The lawsuit says Ross told the girl he was disciplining her on behalf of God and that she was helping him overcome his sexuality because he "liked boys more than girls."

See also: Joseph Ross: Former St. Cronan's Priest Accused of Molesting Parishioner

The lawsuit also accuses the archdiocese of knowingly placing Ross, an admitted sex offender, back into ministry at St. Cronan Church where he could abuse more victims. Ross moved to St. Cronan in 1989 after a year of inpatient therapy.

The criminal case against Ross and the archdiocese fell through in 2010. Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce said that while her office had "full confidence in the victim's allegations," she didn't have enough evidence to go to trial.

But things changed in January, when a judge in the civil lawsuit ruled that Jane Doe could have access to the archdiocese's list of all the sex allegations filed against priests. The so-called "matrix" lists 115 employees accused of molesting children from 1983 to 2003.

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

Attorney Ken Chackes told Daily RFT then he hoped to use the matrix to establish a pattern of reckless disregard for the safety of parish children. But now that the civil case is settled out of court, the future of legal challenges against the church remains unclear.

SNAP, the leading group advocating for victims of clergy sexual abuse, denounced the archdiocese's post-lawsuit statement, accusing it of using the resources and experience in "cover-up cases" to find experts who would "disparage this brave victim."

"Katie Pesha should be ashamed of herself for savaging this brave young woman today," the group says in a statement. "Years from now, we suspect that she will be. And we hope she will then try her best to make amends."

SNAP is demanding an explanation or apology from the church for placing a known abuser in a local church. The archdiocese said Monday it relied on Ross' doctors, who said in 1989 the priest was no longer a pedophile. Thirteen years later, the archdiocese revoked his religious standing "in the wake of clear changes in society's and the medical community's views on the ability to treat child abusers."

Jane Doe's case won't go to trial, and both sides have agreed to keep details of the final settlement quiet. But that didn't stop the archdiocese from one final attempt to poke as many holes in her story as it could.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.



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41 comments
Travis Douglas
Travis Douglas

Oh no man.... my phones been messed up today... the last post i posted was for another page. I'm not saying that pedophiles and gays are the same i was trying to say how the church condemns homosexuality yet most of the molestation cases are a man messing around with boys. And no I'm not anti homosexuals. love is love no matter what. but the church would be the first to damn someone to hell for any same-sex relationship yet they don't seem to bat an eye when when some pervy ass old man molests and young boy... sorry for the confusion and what seemed to be smart ass remark!

Adam Woodson
Adam Woodson

oh, and i am in no way defending the Catholic church.

Adam Woodson
Adam Woodson

so just to clarify, you're equating homosexuals with pedophiles or no? if so, you're welcome to "own up to it" but it's still factually incorrect. the medical community considers pedophilia a mental illness that exists apart from both heterosexuality and homosexuality (which is not considered a mental illness). you're also tacitly agreeing that it's inherently "straight" when a heterosexual man molests a young girl. if i've misinterpreted your comments i apologize. if not, i stand by mine.

Luke Rheaume
Luke Rheaume

Following the Out-of-Court, Secret (Gagged), settlement of the Law Suit brought by Jane Doe 92 against the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, we again see the true colors of the Archdiocese. While the Pope is meeting with Abuse Survivors, Apologizing, and Asking for Forgiveness, the Archdiocese is out attacking the most vulnerable among us – the young woman that they just settled with. Shame on you Archbishop Carlson and the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. The Church claims that it was founded by Jesus, who stood up for the poor and oppressed in his ministry on earth. Where is the Compassion of Jesus in the Church? As I see it, the Church LOST the Ministry of Jesus and has become an UNCARING BIG BUSINESS. A Business that preaches for us to be caring, compassionate, and forgiving, but does not practice what it preaches in its own actions and affairs. It’s now time to speak out about the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. To tell them with our feet and with our pockets, that their actions that abuse people are not in the Ministry of Jesus and if they want our support, they need to make amends for their actions. I stand against the Abuse by the Church. I stand with Jesus in compassion and caring with the oppressed.

Kristina Starr
Kristina Starr

Doesn't surprise me. Hypocrisy at it's best. I learned about my Catholic Priest religion teacher by seeing his face in Time Magazine back when these stories started breaking in early 2000s. Turns out that he was moved to a smaller rural parish after "allegations" came up that the church covered up for years- but settled at least one case out of court. He allegedly continued his behavior after being moved. This man took boys I knew and grew up with on camping trips! He was the "fun priest", that kids and parents trusted! None of these parents ever knew about ANY of the allegations until the story surfaced in the news years later and their sons were then adults. It was totally fucked up. So, when people want to talk about the victim's "mental issues", remember that she lived with the confusion of what this sick fuck did and told her for years. One of the boys I knew who had contact with the priest I mentioned suffered from severe depression and was even at one point hospitalized when he was in his older teens. No one knew about any of what could have happened to him, because NOBODY was talking about it then. At least the break in these stories and the lies and cover-ups from the Church are allowing victims to realize now that no, they weren't crazy, what happened to them was wrong and real, and they, the victims, did nothing wrong. I don't give a fuck about the church who hid these criminals and looked the other way, but these victims deserve respect, not allegations of "crazy".

Jeep Naaked
Jeep Naaked

Wtf!! " a judge in the civil lawsuit ruled that Jane Doe could have access to the archdiocese's list of all the sex allegations filed against priests. The so-called "matrix" lists 115 employees accused of molesting children from 1983 to 2003."

Travis Douglas
Travis Douglas

Whatever you posted as a reply.... yeah i meant it.... i said it... i own up to it...

Adam Woodson
Adam Woodson

Travis, I don't think you intended for your comment to be taken this way but… just to clarify: it's not "gay" when a man molests a male child any more than it's "straight" when a man molests a female child. child molestation is a completely different animal.

Travis Douglas
Travis Douglas

I'm sick of these fucks getting away with this.... and they hate homosexuals.... isn't it "gay" when a man molests a boy? Fuck the Catholics.... fear mongering will not be tolerated

Karl Richards
Karl Richards

Well the Archdiocese should know a liar when it sees one...

Brenda McBride Watson
Brenda McBride Watson

So, the Church settled because a 3 week trial would be too traumatic for the victim, but calling her a mentally ill liar in the press was okie dokie? When will people quit going to Catholic Churches? What exactly would you not tolerate from them?

Jessica Mowry
Jessica Mowry

Sounds like the answer that this needs to be handled as a RICO case and its time to stop being nice and bending over backwards for them and show them that the US has had enough.

snapjudy
snapjudy

Quoted by archdiocese administrator Katie Pesha,  "We simply do not believe her allegations are true." ----

Then why did the St Louis Archdiocese pay her a settlement.?---
This brave girl is to be commended for her courage and we hope she can feel a sense of relief and start to heal.

We urge anyone who may have knowledge or may have been harmed by Joseph D. Ross, to please find the courage to come forward, get help, and contact law enforcement, no matter when it happened. 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 it's never too late to come forward about being sexually abused.

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
 

Linda SansSouci
Linda SansSouci

I'm sure she had various psychological problems after being molested from an early age.............That's the residual damage that the Church has wrought by ignoring the problem for so long.

Susie Nicholson
Susie Nicholson

I see the St. Louis Archdiocese is as sleazy as ever.

Ryan Masters
Ryan Masters

There are no such thing as gods. Stop talking to yourselves. Praying is just a way of saying you're too lazy to do anything.

Rebecca K. Edens
Rebecca K. Edens

It doesn't matter if they had a day in court or if they settled, no one deserves to be treated like this. Especially not by religious officials - isn't there something called the Golden Rule?????

Kelly Hawkins
Kelly Hawkins

horrible...shaming survivors to avoid more lawsuits

Tony Santander
Tony Santander

If they are a liar why not go to court and win a decision against them???? Why pay them off??? The church has done this so many times, that it's a joke. They are and have always been enablers of this type of conduct.

Deb Woods
Deb Woods

Keep it classy, Catholics. That's why nobody believes in you anymore....

Chris Awalt
Chris Awalt

That's the Catholic Church for you, like a little kid, blame everyone else.

Jim House
Jim House

Well, so much for that confidentiality shit. She probably uses birth control, too.

Patsy MacDonald
Patsy MacDonald

The church is so wrong it is seriously not telling the truth, but, God knows!

snapclohessy
snapclohessy

We hope the mean-spirited archdiocesan legal and PR tactics will backfire and prod more people of good will who know about or suspect clergy sex crimes and cover ups to pick up the phone and call us, police, prosecutors and journalists so that the truth can be exposed and so that the kids can be safer.


David Clohessy, SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, 314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com

Alexandra Lugger
Alexandra Lugger

Thus saith the Lord, "Blameth the victim and saveth thy face."..... right?

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman

Most people who were raped by the lord have personal issues..

Linda Weaver Beacham
Linda Weaver Beacham

Settling out of court is not the same as having your day in court. Pick one and shut up.

Allen Ward
Allen Ward

And Jesus said, "If you pay out a settlement, you accept defeat and wrongdoing but don't forget to be a spiteful bitch about it. Always be a spiteful bitch."

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