The Diocese of Jefferson City

A Case Study of Clergy Sexual Abuse

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Childproof 2: The Most Reverend John R. Gaydos Bishop of Jefferson City, Mo.

 
 

Page 2

 
Editorial Update: 31 August 2012

The Most Reverend John R. Gaydos
Bishop of Jefferson City
P. O. Box 417

605 Clark Avenue
Jefferson City, Missouri 65102
T:  573-635-9127
F:  573-635-0386
E:  bishop@diojeffcity.org

Dear Bishop Gaydos:


John R. Gaydos
Bishop
Diocese of Jefferson City, Mo.
In recent months we’ve heard quite a
bit more about the hypocrisy, cynicism,
and secrets of the Roman Catholic Church
in general and the Diocese of Jefferson
City in particular regarding predatory
priests.  Consequently, we renew our
call-to-action to investigate the sexual
exploitation of STAS students by
Bishop Anthony J. O’Connell and other faculty members throughout the high school’s
45-year history (1957-2002).
 
Our case study will illustrate further
your active participation in the American
bishops’ child molestation conspiracy and
introduce readers to new documentation
from St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary (STAS)
students and other survivors regarding
this scandal:  in short, we will provide
a catalogue of sexual abuse and chicanery
by clergymen in your employ.  The documentation to follow throughout the publication of this electronic venture will describe sexual assault, sexual misconduct, and a history of systematic cover-up by the leadership of the Jefferson City diocese to protect those in authority while promoting those who have maintained these secrets through sophistry and subterfuge.
 
An Irish Tragedy:  How the How Sex Abuse by Irish Priests Helped Cripple the Catholic Church, by Joe Rigert is a detailed analysis about the collusion and cover-up of clergy sex abuse in the United States.  His excellent thesis — a justifiably pertinent observation worth reading this St. Patrick’s Day — brings into focus the history of the scandal in the United States and explains how pedophile priests were transferred from Ireland by the American and Irish hierarchy.  Rigert localizes the global conspiracy with the sorry career of Bishop O’Connell and the role that you and your colleagues have played over the years to protect those who have so severely harmed children and vulnerable adults.
 
With the start of 2010, we have been treated
to yet another effort on your part to conceal
child molestation by another renegade priest
working for you:  the Rev. 
Thomas Seifner
(documentation will be published with
succeeding posts).  We know that Seifner
has been accused of “inappropriate electronic communication” with a minor and temporarily removed from his duties as result of his predatory victimization of youngsters entrusted to his care.  Sadly, the former pastor of the Catholic churches in Loose Creek and Bonnots Mill also is a STAS graduate
(Class of 1982).
 
Although you and Msgr. Gregory L. Higley (STAS Class of 1972), your vicar general, informed both congregations of Seifner’s predatory activities December 19-20, 2009, you continue to remain silent about the matter and offer no explanation for this blatant disregard for community standards of safety.  We would like to know more about the case.  We believe the matter involves more than e-mail, telephone conversations, texting, and/or the distribution of
digital pornography.
 
Mark A. Foley
In 2006, Congressman Mark A. Foley,
the Republican politician from Palm Beach, Fla., was implicated in a similar pedophile victimization scheme.  He resigned from the U.S. House of Representatives 29 September 2006.  The FBI launched an inquiry.  Foley’s targets —
high school students who serve
as Congressional pages
— were protected
and vindicated fully in the wake of the disclosures.  The victims of O’Connell, Seifner, and other predators working for
you, deserve the same respect from the leadership of the Diocese of Jefferson City.
 
In September, 2009, your reckless disregard for the safety of our children was again exposed with the disclosure of another pedophile priest working here:  the Rev. Carmine Sita/Gerald Howard, who was assigned to St. Peter and Paul in Boonville, despite his conviction for sex crimes in Newark, N.J.  And not to put too fine a spin on this issue, we also have learned that the so-called Playboy Priest, the Rev. Kenneth Roberts, is allowed to live and work in Osage Beach
at the Lake of the Ozarks.
 
Rev. Carmine Sita
aka Gerald Howard
Recently, the New York Times and
CNN unveiled the traumatic 25-year
victimization of Patricia Bond and
her son, Nathan, by the Rev. 
Henry Willenborg,the former rector of Our Lady of the Angels Seminary (OLA) in Quincy, Ill. (closed in 1987), and the duplicity and culpability of the Order
of the Friars Minor (the Franciscans).  We learned that Willenborg deserted
his child and abdicated his parental obligations (translation:  deadbeat
dad) under the guise of religious priorities
and Canon Law restrictions.  We have witnessed the Franciscans’ intimidation campaign to silence a mother and child even to the point of sacrificing the child to terminal illness rather than provide medical treatment all to protect a charlatan masquerading as a clergyman.

Henry Willenborg, OFM
A missing coda to the Willenborg saga
is that during his tenure as OLA rector
(1979–1986), Bishop O’Connell conducted
his own self-described marauding campaign
on the opposite bank of the Mississippi River
in Hannibal:  Quincy’s sister city and the
landmark boyhood home of Mark Twain
and the childhood icons he created in
Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and
Becky Thatcher.
 
The relationship between Willenborg and O’Connell was professional (and perhaps personal) in that O’Connell, as the long-time rector of St. Thomas
and the vocation director for the diocese recommended OLA and
then-Quincy College to STAS graduates.  Five members of my graduating class (1971) enrolled at OLA and are
Quincy College alumni.  Quincy College faculty taught at St. Thomas.  Quincy
College medical staff treated St. Thomas students.
 
O’Connell allowed Willenborg access to St. Thomas seminarians. 
In 1984, Willenborg was hired to lead the Junior-Senior Class retreat.  The event is recorded in The Anchor, 1984, page 19:
 
On a bright, sunny October 24th, we arrived at Our Lady of the Angels Seminary in Qunicy, Ill., and met our two Franciscan retreat masters, Father John Doctor and Father Henry Willenborg.
 
Our mission was to learn more about ourselves,
and to develop further our relationship with God.  Within an hour we had our first lead.  We were
asked to draw a symbolic picture of our feelings
in order to geta hint of the way we view our life
[sic].  The rest of the day was devoted to researching
and digesting this evidence.

Anthony J. O’Connell hired the Rev. Henry Willenborg and
the Rev. John Doctor to conduct a retreat for St. Thomas
students in October 1984 at Our Lady of the Angels
Seminary.  The Anchor, 1984, p.  19.

Our first day of careful study had led us to new
enlightenment that would help us to see we had
a call to conversion.  We saw the need to forgive,
although we might not always be forgiven ourselves.  That night we were invited to see the lifestyle college
seminarians studying for the Fransican Order, by
joining the O.L.A. students for a pizza party.
 
Our third and final day, we concluded our
investigation with new insights on the Eucharist.
This broadened our vision greatly and helped us
get closer to God’s gift-of-self.

 
Whether or not Willenborg and O’Connell traded stories about their personal sexual tastes is an unknown.  The irony of the situation — two seminaries separated by a mythic river — is difficult to comprehend.  The fact that highest echelons of church management knew about the activities of these two sexual predators is horrific and tragic.  We can only hope that Willenborg was not a presence on the STAS campus as retreat leader and guest speaker or held out as a role model for prospective priesthood candidates as Seifner and other child molesters were in the 1980’s.
  
Canice Connors, OFM, Conv.
President — St. Luke’s Institute
1992-1996
President — Conference of
Major Superiors of Men
2002-2003
Your own role as O’Connell’s protector
and handler is remarkably similar to
the Rev. Michael Perry, Willenborg’s
immediate supervisor and now head
of the Franciscan order worldwide.  Perry obviously supports the views
of his predecessor, the. Rev.
Canice Connors, who — in his infamous 2002 keynote address at the annual meeting of the Conference of Major Superiors
of Men in Philadelphia —
advised that religious order need not comply
with the American bishops’
Charter
for the Protection of Children and Young People
:  



“Zero tolerance is a war slogan, a mobilization
of absolutes, the creation of an objective order
from which there is no escape. The violence of
this warfare does not consist so much in injuring
or annihilating persons as in interrupting their continuity, stabilizing them in roles in which they
no longer recognize themselves, making them
betray not only commitments but their own substance,
making them carry out actions that will destroy every
possibility of authentic self. If we, for whatever noble
and even moral purposes, totalize all abusers (and
by implication all victims), do we not sell the eschatology of hope for the sake of passing, popular approval; for verification of full demonstration in righteous warfare?”

 
Suprisingly, Connors claims he was molested as a child living
in Syracuse, N. Y.  But even more alarming is Connors’ personal
and professional knowledge of the criminal cover-up by the
American Bishops:


Connors told the Milwaukee Journal and reported
to the Bishops at the 1993 annual meeting, “The
Catholic Church in North America possesses the
greatest data bank of evaluation and treatment
of non-incarcerated pedophiles on the continent.
That data should be analyzed scientifically and
shared with others studying the problem.”  Funding
for the
study was rescinded when it was 86 percent
complete; and the data and preliminary conclusions
have never been disseminated.

Benedict XVI
To our dismay, an even more
damaging facet this stark reality
has been disclosed in just the

last 10 hours of this post:  Pope Benedict XVI engaged similar tactics as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, archbishop of Munich
and Freising (1977-1982). 
Ratzinger, who became a cardinal
in 1977, shuffled the Rev. Peter Hullermann frequently despite previous convictions as a child molester.  We have Hullermann’s partial criminal: 
in 1980, he forced an 11-year-old boy to perform oral sex; in 1986, he received an 18-month suspended sentence with five years of probation for child molestation; in May 2008, he was removed from duty, but still employed by the German archdiocese.  It is a safe bet that the conspiracy of the German bishops will mirror the corruption of the Diocese of Jefferson City and the American church.
 
We believe the information to follow will crystallize the callousness embedded in your management team and the willful disregard to meet the minimum benchmarks of transparency and accountability mandated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to protect children and the vulnerable from sexual victimization by predatory priests.  We already are aware of your disregard for legal standards and practices where criminal acts
are concerned.

 


Further reading: 
Pope knew priest was pedophile but allowed him to continue with ministry
Vatican secrecy ‘let German school abusers go unpunished’
Vatican moves to distance Pope from abuse scandal
Abuse scandal may be Pope Benedict’s defining moment
Scandal still not enough to threaten the Pope
Cardinal Schönborn says celibacy partly to blame for clerical sex abuse
Pope’s brother:  I hit children while working at boarding school
Pope and his brother have more in common than a love of apfelstrudel


Next Time:  Clergy Sex Abuse Permeates the Diocese of Jefferson City

 

 

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