The Diocese of Jefferson City

A Case Study of Clergy Sexual Abuse

Monday, November 22, 2010

Childproof 12: Msgr. Higley's Shame, Part 4

Page 12

Editor’s Note: To protect the identity of certain students who attended the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, all names placed in square brackets are pseudonyms.

Dear Bishop Gaydos:

Pantomime Dame: Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke
Recently, your good
friend, the former
archbishop of St. Louis,
got another promotion.
The Vatican tossed a
red hat to
Leo Burke
, who in 2008
was named Prefect of
the Supreme Tribunal
of the Apostolic Signatura,
or chief justice of the
Vatican Supreme Court. 

The elevation of Burke,
the pantomime dame of
the American hierarchy,
to the College of Cardinals
is a scandal unto itself. 
Burke is the archetype of
the criminal accomplice.  He is a dandified Church careerist who achieved success by protecting child molesters.  He is an avaricious clergyman with a gluttonous appetite for money as we witnessed in his attempt to steal the treasury of St. Stanislaus Kostka (in 2005 the parishes total assets, including its eight acre parcel, was valued at $9.5 million).  Burke is an episcopal sycophant reminiscent of the Pius IX: a man with a fetish for silken lamé, lace, and other fancy dress for the sanctuary.   

The legacy of Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke as archbishop of
St. Louis
 is a carbuncle that continues to fester under the
leadership of Archbishop Robert J. Carlson.  One need only consider Burke's long-standing relationship with the so-called Vianney Renewal Center (also known as RECON) in Dittmer, Mo., to understand his attitude toward the survivors of pedophile priests.  As with like Lewis Carroll's Red Queen, Burke believes the Church mission is merely a chess game to be won at all costs:  “It takes all the running you can do to keep in
the same place.  If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”

Cardinal Burke is a crystalline element that can be affixed to
the story of Msg. Gregory L. Higley, Msgr. Stephen C. Bosso, and
the Rev. Michael R. Christensen in that he represents just how
little the clerical environment has changed since the 1974, let
alone in the last 10 years.  Burke, in fact, operates from the
same manifesto today that was used by the Josephinum administration.  And, so, we continue . . . .

The Josephinum:  Msgr. Mouch’s Failure of Duty
Msgr. Frank M. Mouch, as rector of the Josephinum, failed to protect Msgr. Higley, Msgr. Bosso, and Father Christensen during the crises that unfolded tragically during his tenure. 

He built his career as an educator in Florida, working in various dioceses as the Church sub-divided territory to service the expanding Catholic population in the state.  In the 60’s and 70’s he was affiliated with the archdiocese of Miami; worked as the assistant chancellor of the diocese of St. Augustine, and served as the editor
of Florida Catholic.  In 1969, he was supervisor of education for the
St. Petersburg diocese. 

As rector of the Pontifical College Josephinum, Msgr. Frank M. Mouch
maintained a laissez-faire policy toward predatory faculty and administrators.
In turn, Mouch terrorized students damaged by the culture of abuse in order
to maintain the secrecy of the warped seminary environment.

Mouch’s Josephinum tenure is an abject failure: a situation that led to his retreat to Florida rather than a promotion as bishop.  He was president (1987-1996) of St. Leo College, a backwater academic institution in rural Florida that fancies itself as a center of higher learning.  Mouch, in a surprise twist of fate, was president board of trustees at of the St. Vincent de Paul Seminary, Boynton Beach, throughout Bosso’s tenure as rector (serving with the Rev. Michael Houle).  In 2008, Mouch retired from the diocese of St. Petersburg as secretary for pastoral programs. 

Although Burke’s arc burns brighter as the Millennium marches onward while Mouch’s moulders in retirement in Venice, Fla., both clerics cling to the same manifesto of secrecy and silence in the face of criminal violence against children and vulnerable adults.  Mouch characterized this philosophy in an interview on the topic of scandal and church with the St. Petersburg Times in 2002:

“I don't know any priest who, even if he has done something bad,
has not done more good with his priesthood. If you can save a man, save his priesthood and his parish, then certainly that would be the best scenario.

In a photograph dated 23 November 1974, Msgr. Frank Mouch posed with members
of the St. Thomas senior class for Bishop Anthony J. O’Connell on the steps of the
entrance to the Josephinum.  Source:  The Anchor, 1975, p. 44.

The Josephinum:  The Perverse Story Continues
The story of Msgr. Gregory L. Higley, Msgr. Stephen C. Bosso, and the Rev. Michael R. Christensen unfolded tragically from the Fall of 1973 through the Spring 1975.

Msgr. Frank M. Mouch was appointed PCJ rector in August 1974. Like his predecessor, Msgr. Thomas Campbell, Mouch was concerned with career advancement: an eye always focused on the miter and crosier. Mouch was also was a trained pilot, fixated on aviation and mesmerized by luxury. But career advancement stalled for some reason, which led to a transition as president of St. Leo College (1987-1996), near Tampa, Fla., and later as a member of Bosso’s board of trustees at St. Vincent de Paul Seminary, Boynton Beach, Fla. (serving with the Rev. Michael Houle).

The 22 January 1978 issue of The Eagle of Reading, Penn., noted
Msgr. Frank Mouch’s hobby.

Bosso was recalled to the Josh in August 1974 to discuss his knowledge of the substance abuse crisis among the student population as well as the details of the Easter assault.

Christensen again provides the information in a letter dated
17 August 1974:

“Bosso says he’s telling [the Rev.] Pacheco, dean of men in theology, and he's also telling [Father] Schubert more, I guess.  I immediately dispatched Stephen an advisement warning him that the righteous are usually screwed by the administration and the faculty at PCJ, and not the sinner.  Stephen is so rash.”

In his 17 August 1974 letter, Christensen discloses Msgr. Bosso’s intention
to report the Easter 1974 incident to Father Pacheco.
Christensen logs another entry, dated Tuesday Afternoon,
10 September 1974, about the philosophical battle that engaged students with the administration regarding the appropriate corrective action and support for those in distress due to the embedded culture of abuse:

“Stephen B. did fly up [from Pensacola] to speak with the Rector, but all he told him about was [‘Tracy Cowell’ and the Easter sexual assault]. The Rector questioned Stephen about drinking, though, concerning himself only . . . .

“A faculty member told me that Msgr. Durst knows about the ‘unmentionable problem,’ as does Msgr. Fick.  Likewise, Mouch
told Stephen that he (Stephen) isn’t the first to inform him of this type of ‘behavior.’”

Sharing a Story:  Yours Truly (clockwise, top left), Msgr.
Gregory L. Higley, the Rev. Michael R. Christensen, and
Msgr. Stephen C. Bosso shared in letters and conversation
the culture of abuse as it existed at the Pontifical College
Josephinum between 1972 and 1975 and beyond.

The Josephinum: A Stage for Scandal
Unwittingly, the students hoped for a better tomorrow.

Higley maintained a close relationship with Fuller as did Bosso, Christensen, and I.  Each of us confided to the others the hurt and pain we experienced as this shared correspondence of the 1974-1975 school term underscores.

But now the stage was set for the disastrous conclusion of the 1973-1974 term when the students returned to PCJ in August of 1974 and slowly discovered the reality of sexual relationship between Gregory Fuller and “Ambrose Parish.”

Christensen’s observation of the state of affairs is laid out in a letter dated 3 October 1974:

“Lately, my emotional condition can be described s one of moody, brooding, sighing but not aching, longing but not desire. Actually, if I felt like crying, I’d be in an improved mood! What I mean is that I’m too sad to cry. I’m disappointed in myself as much as in anyone else, and I also realized my own limitations, as well as understanding the reality of situations.

Christensen describes his sadness about the Josephinum environment in letter
dated 3 October 1974. He also notes the Rev. Michael Houle celebrated his
21st birthday with a party at REX's apartment.

“There isn’t anyone to talk to who can say as you used to “I know what you mean.

“Right now I’m realistic enough to know [that] . . . at 21 I guess such obvious things are as far above me, as thing now were above me in
high school.

“I’m not depressed, just a little sad. I’m not lonely, just kind of alone – in the midst of plenty. . . . Our ‘clic’ is kind of made up of six people that are sad for personal PCJ reasons.

“This is one of those times when it would be nice if someone told me
what to do.”

Christensen further analyzes the issues in a letter dated Saturday,
17 August 1974:

“Last night I wondered how I’d get the courage to go back to PCJ. Then I realized that I would never get the courage, but that I am simply resigned to the necessity of finishing there.

“As T.S. Eliot wrote: ‘Pray for us now and at the hour of our birth!’”

The Josephinum: Manipulating Secrets
In a letter dated 16 December 1974, Christensen writes:

“Fuller is the same – upset over his ‘marriage’ with [Ambrose Parish]. . . . [Ambrose] and I made peace at a summit conference (2 hrs.) in which he apologized and I retracted nothing. I have been ‘cautious’ with him.”

Christensen follows up his assessment of Fuller in a bombshell letter dated 1 February 1975, Christensen writes:

“Well, you might as well hear the worst – this is so terrible that must throw this letter away – Fuller and [Ambrose Parish] turned out to be gay. It was going on for one and half years.

Msgr. Christensen begins to detail further crises at the Josephinum in his letter
dated Saturday Nite, 1 February 1975.
“Fuller told me, then Bosso, and we tried to get to go voluntarily,
but he went MENTAL and Higley got [Ambrose] to confess but only after they tried to get me kicked out for slander (!), and the rector conducted an investigation and we were all in his office privately, etc. Bosso, G. Higley, and I acted under Fr. Huntzinger’s advice.
Well, [Ambrose] and Fuller both were told to leave or get kick out.

“So . . . As always keep this quiet and Fr. O’C knows as does
Fr. Kalin because we called our V.D.’s before things got involved
with the rector [Mouch].

The Josephinum: Details of a Scandal
“As I said [Greg and Ambrose] had an affair for one and half years. It started in October 1973. [Ambrose] had a suite so it was kind of easy to get away with. As I think back though, I remembered going in one day (early morning) and found them both there; one sleeping on the bed and one on a sleeping bag on the floor. They were caught sucking each other by a frosh last year, but the kid didn’t do anything about it! Gonzales says Fuller seldom came to his own room before 2:00-3:00 a.m. (F and Gonz[ales] were potty pals.)

Details of the Gregory Fuller-Ambrose Parish Episode.
“They also did this during vacations to [Ambrose’s] house (2 times), and on their summer vacation to Chicago and at PCJ when they painted F’s room. In fact, they were still doing it up till Mon.,
Jan. 3, 1975. We found out Sat., Jan. 8, ’75. No butt fucking.

“As to ‘details’ they kissed – Frenched, fondled, sucked off, licked, slept new together and showered together. The last two they did only in Chicago and at PCJ during the summer.

The Josephinum: Parents Threaten Legal Action
“When F. told [Ambrose], that I, Bosso, and Higley knew, [Ambrose] called his mother and had his family come here from their town, that very day. He told Krupp and the Rector that I had slandered him of being a homo. His mother wanted me to make a public apology and be kicked out. The same for Bosso and Higley, with no expulsion.

“I was to be called in Tues., to confront the Rector, F. and [Ambrose] But F. cracked and went with Fr. Teall and told the rector the truth. The next day – Higley [got] to [Ambrose] to go and confess, too. I had said if they didn’t voluntarily leave, I’d to the rector. I did this, as did Bosso and G. Higley under Fr. Huntzinger’s complete direction.

Msgr. Frank Mouch (far left) at the Second Annual Southeastern Gathering
(reunion) of Josephinum alumni in August 1989 at St. Petersburg Beach, Fla.
The cutline reads:  The Pilot and his passengers.  Source: The Josephinum
Newsletter magazine, Spring 1990, p. 44.

“F. got cuckoo and threatened me bodily, and put hand through a window, and drank and smoked for three days. H. tried to get into my room two times one night at 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. It was bad!

“When AAK [Father Albert A. Krupp] found out from me that he’d been duped, he tried to see [Ambrose], but couldn’t because [Ambrose] was hiding.

“[Ambrose] left Thurs. aft., Jan. 13. He was told to withdraw or be kicked out with Homo. S. on his record.

“F. wouldn’t leave, and was expelled. I don’t know what was on his record. He left Sun. morning, 7:30 a.m., Jan. 16. He left everything but his clothes here.

“The diocese agreed to pay psychiatric expenses since he had
no family.

“He went three times, but moved to Corpus Christi, Texas, last
week, and is not longer under psychiatric care.  Higley sent
[Ambrose] a letter telling him [he] lied and slandered everyone
to save his own skin . . .”

“F. hates me. [Ambrose] told Higley to tell me he understands how things had to be and wishes me luck.

“F. told me the ‘explicits’ so he could ‘explain to me why these things were so important to make him feel like a man.’ When he
told me that, I knew he’d cracked.

“Needless to say, it was a MESS!”

But the cycle of abuse continues to this day at the Josephinum. . .

Related Articles:
Burke: Abusive Priests Often End up in St. Louis
Two Americans Among New Cardinals
Burke Escalated Transfer of Pedophile Priests to St. Louis Archdiocese
Burke's Strange Relationship with ‘Abbot’ Ryan St. Anne’
Burk Gave Pedophile Priests Nationwide Special Access to St. Louis
Burke's Patronage of St. John Vianney Renewal Center/RECON
Burke's Successor, Archbishop Robert Carlson, Protected Pedophile Priests in Minnesota
St. Stanislaus Kotska: A Parish Welcome
St. Stanislaus Kotska: Perspective
St. Stanislaus Kotska: A Battle for Temporal Goods Valued at $9.5 Million

Next Time: The Story of Msgr. Higley's college career will continue.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Childproof 11: Msgr. Higley's Shame, Part 3

Page 11

Editor’s Note: To protect the identity of certain students who attended the
Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, all names placed in square
brackets are pseudonyms.

Dear Bishop Gaydos:

The Pontifical College Josephinum
A cursory glance at the story of
Msgr. Gregory L. Higley, Msgr.
Stephen C. Bosso, and the Rev.
Michael R. Christensen may
conjure the allusion of extreme
hazing: a skewed practical joke
of no consequence. But that is
not the case, as the ongoing
exposé of the culture of abuse
among the clergy continuously
tells us. The disclosure that
institutionalized sexual abuse
is sanctioned from the papal
throne to lowest country
curate is astounding.

Critics will view this story as vicious tittle-tattle. Experts will
see the message for what it is: ritualized bullying sanctioned by
administrators at the Pontifical College Josephinum (PCJ or the
Josh) in Columbus, Ohio.

The truth about the Josephinum drama lay in the written record
of Higley, Bosso, and Christensen: documentation of life-altering events as they unfolded in the second half of their collegiate careers; a record of how they persevered in pain and fear of reprisal, adapting their lives and moral fiber to the culture of abuse.

Today, as vicar general of the diocese of Jefferson City, Higley works assiduously to coddle child molesters. Bosso, as rector (2000-2005)
St. Vincent de Paul Seminary in Boynton Beach, Fla., allowed predatory clergymen to teach at the Palm Beach diocesan academy.  An interesting side note is that both Higley and Bosso relied on their long-time association with O’Connell to achieve their current status. Bosso was named rector of St. Vincent after O’Connell took over the leadership of the Palm Beach diocese.  Higley’s manifest destiny can be traced to his high school days at St. Thomas where he studied O’Connell as a role model.

Christensen, by contrast, was taken by surprise early on his clerical career when he discovered that two of his early assignments were to replace disreputable priests:

“We never signed on for this!” he once wrote to me.

Sexual Assault:  An Extenuated Saga
Tyler Clementi
What happened to Msgr. Higley
and his college chums is self-
evident. We only have to review
briefly the modern-day the
tragedy of Tyler Clementi, the
18-year-old Rutgers student who
plunged to his death from the
George Washington Bridge after
his roommate streamed live video
to the Internet of his romantic
evening with his boyfriend.  Links
to the story of Tyler Clementi are
published at the end of this post.

Higley, Bosso, and Christensen were trapped by the insidious culture of abuse that coincided with the laissez-faire environment nurtured by PCJ administrators and faculty alike.  The status quo was a wink and nod until their situation was over-shadowed a few months later by a second scandal involving a Josephinum graduate student Gregory J. Fuller and a college freshman, whom we will identify
as with the pseudonym of Ambrose Parish.

The administration’s approach to the culture of abuse was to cosset the offenders and contain the damage.  This attitude was crystallized in the fall of 1973 when the students returned for classes: a new regime implemented a “No Alcohol” interdict for the college of liberal arts and the graduate school of theology.  The Bible college
had gone dry.

The ineffectual rector, Msgr. Thomas Campbell, appointed Msgr. Leonard J. Fick, the dean of academics, stepped in as interim dean of men in an effort to repair the damage perpetrated by the Rev. David A. Sartorius, REX, and others.  The Rev. Juan Garcia was named assistant dean of men.

“More or less Garcia is just a puppet for Fick,” Higley notes in a letter dated 8 October 1973.  “He doesn’t say much cause he doesn’t know much about the rules. He’s a real nice guy and I don’t see any favorit[ism] toward the Spicks.”

Christensen confirms Higley’s account in a letter dated 28 August 1973, 11:30 p.m.:

“Fick is doing half of Garcia’s job till Garcia gets the hang of the things.”

The Josephinum: Captive Students
Governed by Fear

Prohibition may have become the new order
of the day in the fall of 1973, but the Josh correspondence is littered with references of substance abuse: alcohol, narcotics, and prescription medications.

REX, for example, was dismissed from both
his administrative and faculty positions
during the summer recess.  And, yet, he
still was allowed access to the Josh campus
facilities and students even though the
decision-makers and gate-keepers were
well-aware of his predation (The Rev.
Albert A. Krupp, dean of spiritual
formation (1968-1980), helped REX
secure a management position with
the Columbus YMCA with further
intervention by Msgr. Fick).

As Christensen notes in his letter dated
18 November 1973, twelve months after
I reported that REX had raped a college

[REX] had a huge drink-in Friday. [Rafe Monckton, a Jefferson City seminarian who now is a circuit court judge in Central Missouri] called up [now the Rev.] Bob Fields, a frosh from Jeff, and asked him indelicate questions. Needless to say, I did not attend that party.” Note: The Rev. Robert Fields was a member of PCJ freshman class of 1973, along with the Rev. Gary Pool.

The Josephinum: Trauma as the Status Quo
The new PCJ regime targeted alcohol consumption with weak enforcement.  Students, encouraged by the cycle of abuse embedded in the seminary culture, maintained private reserves in their quarters, now declared to be “No Drink” zones.

The change in status quo merely augmented the trauma experienced by these undergraduates as Msgr. Mouch and Msgr. Fick attempted inculcate a new method of mind control.

Christensen describes the situation in a letter dated 28 August 1973,
11:30 p.m.:

“Msgr. Fick demanded conferences with Bosso and Fuller immediately.  Bosso got chewed out for booze. Fuller hasn’t gone yet. [Spencer Abbott] and others whose names I don’t know who also got told by Msgr. Fick to shape up or else.”

Gregory Fuller follows up with this commentary:

“Did S. Bosso or M. Christensen tell you that Bosso and I had to go see Msgr. Fick about certain incidents that went on last year?”  Fuller asks in a letter dated 15 September 1973.  “He wasn’t as irritated as I thought he would be. All in all he told us to watch ourselves this year and we are taking his advice seriously thus far . . .  The new associate dean of men is Father Garcia . . . .”

The Rev. Gregory J. Fuller referenced the Josephinum pub brawl
in his 15 September 1973 correspondence

The Josephinum: Collateral Damage in a Culture of Abuse
Nonetheless, alcohol consumption continued unabated as a coping mechanism for many of the students.  A typical weekend would begin
with bourbon and end with tea and brandy.

The severity of the damage in the second event illustrates the situation in which Christensen confirms Fuller’s account.  The letter
is dated 28 August 1973, 11:30 p.m.:

“Bought a fifth of rum and sloe gin and I brought what left of the whiskey [from home]! We drank ‘ice tea’ and [had a] ‘cookies’ party last night!  Good Grief!  Haven’t gone to the put yet and may never go!  The indignity of it all – a teenage dive!  (Went Wednesday: were the last ones there.)”

In his letter dated 28 August 1973, Christensen notes that the Josephinum
administration allowed the serial predator REX to continue his presence
on campus as well as the psychological instability of some seminarians
and the substance abuse habits of others.

And then he adds dismissively:

“The new law on booze is tough!  . . . .  The place is full of booze too, and no one knows how to get rid of it.  We can’t even take ice to the rooms from the kitchen.”

Maintenance services, in fact, could not keep up with the scale of consumption.  Each Monday morning staff members were confronted with over-flowing trash chutes at the end of each hallway:  stuffed with gallon bottles, beer cans, and beverage containers, evidence of three days of hard drinking that began usually at noon the previous Friday and did not end until the wee hours of Monday.

The Josephinum: A Bonfire Flares
Although the administration instituted prohibition, this apathetic policy only exacerbated the culture of abuse embedded in the seminary environment.  To compensate for the lack of alcohol, the Josephinum open a pub in an underground tunnel that connected the college and theology buildings.  Both undergraduate and graduate students had access to the premises: college juniors and senior were assigned to tend bar on a rotating basis.

Bosso notes the status quo at PCJ in a letter dated Saturday,
8 December 1973:

“Coming back with no booze was bad enough but then the administration said that they would enforce the rule.  Well, there
has been some boozing going on but, on a very limited basis.  As a matter of fact I have been almost nihil.

“At the beginning of the year Gregory Fuller and myself were called into Fick’s office and told that they found out everything that went on last year and that we had better cut the shit out this year or we will find our asses out on High Street thumbing home.  Well, before Gregory and myself went to see Fick (but after we found out that he wanted to see us individually) we decided that we would stand firm and not mention any names . . .”

Feast of the Immaculate Conception: Msgr. Stephen Bosso discusses alcohol abuse at the Pontifical College Josephinum in his letter dated 8 December 1973.

The Josephinum: A Drunken Bar Brawl
The severity of the abuse cycle began to surface feverishly as the fall of 1973 morphed into the personal attacks on Higley and Bosso during the Easter recess of 1974.

Christensen describes the crisis at the Josephinum as a debilitating prelude to the Easter 1974 disaster with an incident that occurred on Thursday, 25 October 1973:

“Fuller has been drunk 3-4 days now.  Fuller . . . Bosso . . . [and others] also had a semi-brawl in the pub Thursday,” according to Christensen’s letter dated 28 October 1973.  “They threw beer . . . and chairs . . . etc. A note from ‘Pub Management’ was up the next day saying suspension from the pub for a week would occur for that from now on.”

Bosso adds this proviso to the October incident in his Saturday,
8 December 1973, correspondence, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception:

“We . . . decided that if we were going to get kicked out that a
few people would go with us.  I would hate to mention names but, one, [the Rev.] Albert Krupp [dean of spiritual formation] (and the Kruppians), [the Rev.] Ralph Huntzinger, and certainly others.  But,
as I said, it never came to that.  As far as the Pub goes, I never go down there except to tend the bar, which is only once a week and then only if I can’t find a replacement.”

Rev. Michael R. Houle
Bishop Kenny High School
Jacksonville, Fla.
The Josephinum: Embittered Truth
and Substance Abuse
Christensen’s letter, dated Sunday Morning,
28 October 1973, illustrates that the effort
of the PCJ administration to contain alcohol
and drug only intensified the bitterness of

the students toward their mentors and the paradigm of truth:

“Michael Houle and I saw [Adam Nunn]
one night . . . . [at] a big drink party. 
I left at 12 midnight, but Houle wanted
to stay.  He came back at 2:00 a.m.,
and fell down and threw up at the end
of hall here on 2-S.  [Tracey Kirk,
the student nurse] was with him.  Mike
had wanted to see me.  I heard him and
went down to his room, but [Tracey]
said it was would be no use to talk try
to talk to him . . .  [We]
feared he
was dead.”

Houle, following ordination for the diocese of St. Augustine, Fla., returned to the Josh as director of development (1986-1989).  But his career there was abbreviated due to circumstances that remain murky
to this day.

Houle returned to the St. Augustine diocese.  He continues to serve as a member of board of trustees of St. Vincent de Paul Seminary in Boynton Beach, an appointment by Bosso when he became rector and supported by O’Connell when he became bishop of Palm Beach.

The Josephinum: Battered Psyches
Msgr. Fick Tribute:
Josephinum Newsletter
Spring 1990
Christensen alludes to even more serious issues affecting PCJ students in a letter dated 28 August 1973:

“[Grant Priestly] was out today.  He was
in the state mental hospital for 12 days.
He attempted suicide with valium and
wine.  [Grant] was stripped and checked
for crabs when he came into receiving
at the hospital.”

By November 1973, Christensen believed
that the Bosso-Fuller pub brawl had sunk
below the administration’s radar, offering
some respite for Bosso, Fuller, and their
cohort of friends:

“The entire drinking thing has been settled,” he notes in 18 November 1973 correspondence.  “Fuller saw Msgr. Durst and was reassured [that career toward ordination was on track].”

He soon discovered he was mistaken.  He pinpoints the extent of the problem of substance abuse among the student population with this example in correspondence dated 27 November 1973:

“[Jason Vicars] is degenerating into a dreadful physical condition.
It’s really pitiful, too. Who knows what’s wrong with him!?!?”

“Jason Vicars” was my roommate: in Josephinum parlance, “Potty Pal,” because we shared quarters connected by a half-bath.

Christensen then records a similar situation in a letter dated
8 December 1973:

“I found out that Krupp has already sent two freshmen to psychiatrists this semester!  And I imagine . . . it’s probably worse.  After two times, one of the kids refused to go back anymore.”

Two years later, Christensen notes that these matters remain unchanged.  According to his letter dated 1 February 1975:

“Four people are currently seeing psychiatrists (including poor [Giles Pope]!  He came to see me for opposing advice!), so you can see NOTHING has changed.  And all the ODC whoring is still occurring.”

The Josephinum: Demoralized Seminarians
Higley, Bosso, and Christensen returned to the Josephinum in the fall of 1974 demoralized and severely depressed.  They were well-aware that the administration had minimized the Easter crisis as a kerfuffle and now perceived the three young men as problematic.

Christensen first described the nascent Fuller situation in a letter dated 14 October 1973:

“Fuller is very possessive and jealous of me, this year, even though he sees little of me as the formerly close friends do. He thought, he told me, I was depriving him something.  He’s really paranoid about [Kit Parson] too, because [Kit] saw a candle [burning] in Fuller’s room at 1:30 a.m., and mentioned it to him.

Christensen notes the onset of issues affecting Gregory J. Fuller in
correspondence dated 14 October 1973, as well as the inability of the
Josephinum administration and faculty to support students in crisis.

“This is all because two freshmen hang around Fuller so much . . . . and he sees one of them a lot, till 2:30 [a.m.] on one morning.

“Anyway, Fuller ask me all the time how often certain people come to see me, how long do they stay, and where I have been, who did I go with, etc., with moderation, of course, but I still notice it!  We kidded him about these two freshmen being his children, and he said if he has any children at all, it’s just one and it’s me!”

The Josephinum: Derailed Morality
By the spring of 1974 Christensen began to document a situation vividly, not suspecting that the relationship would nearly derail his ordination as well as Higley’s and Bosso’s.

“Fuller and that big blond kid [Ambrose Parish] he hangs around with had a ‘lover’s fight’ this past week,” he writes in a letter dated 16 March 1974.  “It’s been going on for three days.

“They’re both screwed up, and they came [and] ask me what to do, and what the other one says . . .  Then Fuller got pissed off for me telling things, even though I told what I said, and said NO confidentiality, and so last night I told both of them to leave me out of it period. I get along with both of them still, but have refused to listen to them when they are fighting.”

Christensen began documenting the Fuller situation
in letter dated Saturday Afternoon, 16 March 1974.

At the Pontifical College Josephinum, Greg Fuller was affiliated with the diocese of Salinas, Kan. He was a caring, intelligent, and talented young man, who had studied previously at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium.  He, his twin sister, and his brother were reared by their grandparents.

And, then, just prior to Easter, Fuller began to exhibit behavior that threaten his career even more than the drunken pub brawl and severely damage the reputations Higley, Bosso, and Christensen:

“Fuller is now pretending he’s a little boy,” Christensen writes in a letter dated 1 April 1974. “He’s on the verge of being psycho.  I wonder what will happen to him?”

Msgr. Bosso and Msgr. Higley continue to recover slowly from Easter 1974 assault
and the Rev. Albert A. Krupp fails to support their cause, according to correspondence
dated Ascension Thursday, 24 May 1974.

Acutely aware that Higley and Bosso were assaulted in April, Fuller received his undergraduate degree in late May.  Christensen comments in a letter dated 24 May 1974 about Fuller’s off-campus graduation party:

“We had filet mignon for graduation . . .  The part at [the] Ramada Inn was a drunken smash with everyone trying to hustle ass.  Actually it made me sick. I left at 11:00 p.m. with [Dunstan Muir] and Fuller . . .  Fuller and [Ambrose Parish] both ended up drunk and passed out in my rooms that night.”

The Josephinum: Hope Dismayed
Within seven months after the Easter episode, the sexual relationship between Fuller  now a first-year theologian and “Ambrose Parish” was emerging as an untenable situation.

The Fuller/“Parish” relationship unfolded to deleterious effect.  Unlike the Cox-Pool scandal, the damage to the principals and their confidantes was electric as Bosso and Fuller started the last phase of their ordination process and Higley entered his sophomore year of college at the Josephinum.

“I am very down on PCJ,” Christensen writes in a letter dated 3 June 1974.  “Obviously nothing has changed since the time when you were there.  PCJ needs a purge, and that would eventually kill the place, just as purge for the same reasons has been killing Conception [Abby, near Kansas City, Mo.].  .  .  .   Actually, I’m so disgusted with PCJ, I really doubt if I can ever wear the propaganda [cassock] outside PCJ, with honor, for I feel I’m living a lie in it otherwise.”

Suggesting a “purge” in a letter dated 3 June 1974.

The tragedy of the situation is that the cycle of abuse continues to
this day . . . .

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Next Time: The story of Msgr. Higleys college career at the Josephinum will continue with the next posting.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Childproof 10: Msgr. Higley's Shame, Part 2

Page 10

Dear Bishop Gaydos:

Msgr. Gregory L. Higley
The retelling of the traumatic experiences of Msgr. Bosso and Msgr. Higley is imperative in light of the criminal cover-up that you, Bishop Gaydos, and Bishop McAuliffe, have perpetrated.

Bosso, Higley, and Christensen, as a consequence, have become unwilling, hostile witnesses to a culture of clergy sexual abuse that mocks victims and survivors alike.

Higley’s crisis at the Josephinum is more than an imbroglio involving classmates who now are priests with prominent positions of trust. In addition, these priests are connected to O’Connell in some fashion or
they are indebted to O’Connell for his patronage.

Higley told the Rev. Manus Daly about his situation at the Josephinum, according to a letter dated 21 June 1974:

“I went up to the Lake to see Daly a while back. . . . We had a real good talk, concerning a lot of subjects, mostly the Josephinum. Of course I made sure he wouldn’t talk to O’Connell. We’ll have to get together sometime there if you want.”

Twin Attacks:  Easter and Sartorius
Multiple layers of abuse sexual, physical, and psychological pervade the correspondence of Msgr. Bosso, Msgr. Higley, and Father Christensen.  Christensen, in fact, revisited the Sartorius scandal in a follow-up letter dated Saturday, 17 August 1974,  in which he discusses again the fact that Sartorius assaulted Higley in the same shower room of the Josephinum gymnasium where he attacked McNally:

“Greg is still upset about Easter. It is my opinion that more happened than G has told. After the Sartorius debacle G. should have easily handled this last incident. So more must have happened, or else he found out more about this problem than he wanted to. I wonder if he’s covering
for Nacho?

In his letter dated Saturday, 17 August 1974, Christensen notes that
Msgr. Higley is still distraught about the Easter sexual assault.  He adds that
Msgr. Bosso intends to inform the dean of men for the School of Theology
and one his professors, Msgr. “Dad” Schubert.

And Christensen adds an exclamation point to his appraisal of the Easter incident:

“Bosso says he’s telling [the Rev.] Pacheco, dean of men in theology, and he’s also telling [the Rev.] Schubert [whom the students called “Dad”] more, I guess. And Schubert wants to go to the rector. I immediately dispatched Stephen an advisement warning him that the righteous are usually screwed by the administration and faculty at PCJ, and not the sinner. Stephen is so rash.”

Msgr. Higley:  Acknowledging Trauma

Msgr. Higley acknowledge his trauma as described by Father Christensen in a letter dated 21 June 1974:

“On Thursday, May 16, the day of the graduation banquet, I started a new bottle of Lord Calvert at 10:30 a.m. in Michael’s room,” he writes to me. “[Greg] Fuller . . . joined me later. I was half-looped when I went over to [the refectory] for lunch. [Lewis] asked me to wash lunch dishes and I said I’d be over after I had one more drink. But Gregory [Fuller] and I went back to Michael’s room and drank till 1:30 p.m. when I ended up on my own bed passed out.”

Msgr. Higley describes how he copes with the trauma he experienced in his
letter dated 21 June 1974:  “Did Bozo [Bosso] tell you what happened over
Easter?  Thats one reason why I bought so much booze.  Every time I got
drunk, I felt better.”


Higley then describes a scene in which his twin brother, Tim, and Christensen and Bosso attempt to revive him:

“The next thing I know . . . Timothy [Higley], Michael, and Bozo were waking me up for Mass before the banquet. It was a scream Wegos. I was so drunk that Christensen had to throw cold water on me twice: then he dragged me out of bed. I never made it to Mass. I went up and had some more beer with [Nelson] instead. I could barely eat at the banquet.”

Father Christensen: Coping with Pain
Christensen also noted 24 May 1974 that he held out hope for Higley
and Bosso:

"Bosso will recover by July, I predict. G. Higley has, but is still stuck on the booze and an 11-year-old girl he met on retreat. He’ll eit
her lose his vocation, or get his head screwed back on by next Thanksgiving.”

But Msgr. Higley offers his own self-analysis of his pain and suffering in a letter dated 28 August 1974:

“One night I went out to the Wine Cellar to drink whisky sours and Tom Collins . . . . Then I got a bottle of Lord Calvert and finished it off with a 12-pack of Busch with [Sasha] . . . It sounds like the school year got off to a bad start this year for me; but I let it happen and I hope I’ll straighten up pretty soon.”

Krupp:  Professed Ignorance
Christensen discloses his precise analysis of the situation in a letter dated 24 May 1974, noting that the Rev. Albert A. Krupp and Father Sesto have chosen inaction regarding the attacks on Higley and Bosso:

“Neither Krupp nor Sesto has done anything about the theologians, and I don’t expect anything to happen. . . . I just don’t know what will happen. I think PCJ has a very, very serious Homo S. problem and that the Homo S. problem causes directly the drinking problem.  Both booze and Homo S. have been rampant for two years now.”

In his letter dated 24 May 1974, Christensen notes that Msgr. Higley and
Msgr. Bosso continue to suffer from their Easter trauma and that the
Josephinum faculty and administration failed to take action or support
the victims.
Msgr. Higley:  Emotional Distress
The timeline of this phase of the Josephinum sex scandals is interesting
in that 16 months after I reported the sexual assault of a student to Father Krupp, nothing had been accomplished and the serial molestation of students continued, as Christensen notes in his 23 April 1974 letter:

“NOW GET THIS!!!! (I found this out before Easter from T. Higley). Last year [Nate, STAS Class of 1971, from Pilot Grove] saw from his bathroom mirror [Deacon Maas] in bed with [Lewis]! [PCJ two students shared bathrooms that adjoined their separate rooms; they called each other “Potty Pals “] He left. [Maas] got [Deacon Shields] to talk to [Nate] and tell [Nate] how [Maas] was so affectionate and trying to help [Lewis], etc.! Shit!  What kind of place is this?

“GH [Greg Higley] says he finds it difficult to understand how Nacho [Medina] and I react to all this so coolly, and with praying, and emotional repression. But I just can’t be really too down on these people, although after awhile I do think they should stop it for good, or else depart from the seminary.”

Father Christensen:  Another Plea for Secrecy
And, then, Christensen asked me again to remain silent about Higley’s predicament in a letter dated 11 June 1974:

“I’d rather you didn’t rather you didn’t tell Bosso that I told you about the Easter incident, because the mess includes Greg Higley, and he doesn’t care for it to be known, so get all your ‘official’ info from dear Stephen, and keep my name and mouth (admittedly big) out of it, if you can, for I don’t care to have G. Higley mad at me.”

Christensen Letter:  11 June 1974

The Josephinum:  An Open Secret
The context of the Bosso-Higley-Christensen matters is further detailed in a letter drafted to Christensen and has become a stark diary entry dated
8 July 1974:

“My weekend at the [Lake of the Ozarks at Fr. Daly’s cabin] was an enlightening affair. I kept company with two seniors from St. Thomas: Don . . . [Class of 1974] and Mark . . . [Class of 1974]. I found out that [Tim Higley] and [Greg Higley] were invited to join us, but they refused, Manus said. I told him I knew why, because of your informative letter, and he was relieved. Fr. Daly told Greg it was his own fault that the Easter incident occurred. It was no à la Krupp [affair as with me], but [he said] that Greg should’ve spent Easter with his family like the other students and the temptations would not arise.

Wegs Letter:  8 July 1974

“But that is not the problem. Sunday morning at breakfast (Daly was out at Mass) Don asked me what I knew about the ‘fag problem’ at the Josephinum! . . . . I asked Don who he had been talking to. He said he heard from [DAT, Class of 1972] and a kid from Quincy, Ill., talking about it at a party that the Class of ’72 had at [Daly’s] cabin. Also [MJV, Class of 1973] mentioned some things. Don said he wanted to know the facts before he went there next year!”

The Josephinum:  A Haven for Predators
Rev. Albert A. Krupp
coddled predators at
the Pontifical College
“Then he asked who got [Greg Higley]. I was shocked and numb. . . . The whole senior Class
of ’73 and upcoming ’74 know the score.  Daly
knows and O’C . . .  Daly said he knew about
[REX] three years ago!  He propositioned [Code
for sexual assault: FAE, Class of ’70].  Daly also
said Krupp and Fick knew about [REX] before I
came there or you! Daly also said Krupp was
an as[s] for his Christian charity bit toward
[REX] after me and
then you.  As you know by
now Ive Daly nearly all that has happened.

“The last thing that Daly said to me about the subject is that he hoped the new rector [Msgr. Frank M. Mouch, PCJ Class of 1958] would do something before too many more seminarians from our diocese advanced to PCJ. Now despite everything . . . I am sorry Greg is angry with you. But I didn’t tell him you told me, unless Bosso did. I will write him [a letter about this] after I finish this letter, and I will see him July 19, 20, or 21 at the Lake [at Daly’s cabin]. The Class of ’72 is having a party and I was invited with some guys from my class.”

Msgr. Higley: Trapped by Spiritual Autism
The victimization of Msgr. Higley is a significant element of the sexual abuse culture that permeates the Diocese of Jefferson City. The extent of the situation cannot be unraveled or investigated when the chief players in this drama cannot address their own crises. Some may characterize this factor as a cancer on the soul of the church, but for victims like Higley the charitable diagnosis may be simply a form of spiritual autism.

The Higley-Bosso-Christensen correspondence indicates that O’Connell, McAuliffe, Krupp, Fick and others in authority at the Chancery and the Josephinum administration worked in harmony to keep these matters hidden. Josephinum rectors Msgr. Mouch and Msgr. Campbell were well-aware of these matter, but they acceded to McAuliffe and O’Connell because the Diocese of Jefferson City was a source of revenue and enrollment at a time when both were scarce commodities. 

Father Krupp and Co. engineered a graceful exit from the Josephinum for REX to a position as director of the North Columbus YMCA.  REX’s Josephinum career as a sexual predator spanned at least five years. He maintained an on-campus presence as a frequent visitor, luring students to his home where he continued to groom students with alcohol, drugs, and pornography.

In particular, O’Connell, Krupp, and Fick protected marauding faculty at the expense of their victims. REX, the serial predator, had additional support from the Josephinum treasurer’s office. CFO Msgr. Gilbert Schmenke was recognized by the Columbus business elite as a financial and real estate powerhouse, controlling land holdings, leasing resources and commercial property ventures (e.g. the Christopher Inn). Schmenke supported REX and provided cover for his protégé.

Father Krupp:  A Company Man
Christensen notes in a letter dated 28 August 1973, eight months after I reported the student rape to Krupp:

“[REX] was out the first day. He is North Columbus Family YMC director.”

As for the student I supported, Krupp recommended that he continue his education at another academic institution. Krupp, who for 12 years (1968-1980) served as spiritual director for the Josephinum undergraduates, told the student that ordination was no longer possible because he now was considered “damaged goods” by the Church. The student realized some years later that the Josephinum forgave his college tuition: payment rendered for injustice perhaps.

The Josephinum administration continued to coddle sexual predators as
Christensen documents in letter dated 28 August 1973.  REX
 who was
terminated from both of his positions as a faculty member and an
 was allowed access to the campus despite the knowledge
that he had raped one student and molested others.

Bosso offers a note of support in a letter dated Thursday, 24 May 1973:

“I know that this year did not end very for [you] at all . . . You should have never acted (as you put it) as a scapegoat. I disagreed with that from the beginning.”

Christensen then follows up with advice about Father Krupp in letter dated Saturday, 7 July 1973:

“Be careful of Al Baby . . . . He is a clinical psychologist first, and a serpent second, and not a priest at all . . . . His blunders, failings, crimes, mistakes, and very personality are a moral indictment against each word he utters. He is a phony priest, a phony psychologist, and his concerns are phony too!”

Msgr. Leonard J. Fick:  Blackmailer
In retrospect, the prelude of the abuse crisis that enveloped Higley-Bosso-Christensen and others in 1974 at the Josephinum can be traced to a few lines in a letter from Christensen dated 27 November 1973.  In these pages he describes Msgr. Fick’s attempt to maintain the nightmarish equilibrium of institution:

“Msgr. Fick was roaming the halls last night and tried to get into my TV room, but the doorknob just went around and around and around!” he writes. “Usually I say something nasty to guys using that door, but instead I ran out to who it was, and caught on the steps down to 1-S. He denied he’d been at my door.”

Unable to foresee the painful Easter of 1974 and debacle of 1975, Fick attempts to blackmail Christensen with a lie: a threat to tell Christensen’s bishop – Glennon P. Flavin – that he found cocaine in the seminarians. 
But as more calamitous events erupt at the Josephinum, Fick will be forced retreat to damage control knowing that a silence imposed will some day end.

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Next Time:  The story of Msgr. Higley’s college career at the Josephinum continues.