The Diocese of Jefferson City

A Case Study of Clergy Sexual Abuse

Friday, April 16, 2010

Childproof 8: The Journey of Msgr. David D. Cox


Page 8

Editorial Update:  17 September 2012

Dear Bishop Gaydos:

Pope Benedict XVI, as Joseph Cardinal
Ratzinger, advised John S. Cumins, bishop of
the Diocese of Oakland, Calif., not to remove
a convicted child molester. Benedict notes
in the 1985 letter to Cummins that such
action would harm the “Universal Church.”
In April, a letter drafted in
ecclesiastical Latin again
betrayed the integrity of
the leadership of the Roman
Catholic Church.  The letter
also reveals a bit of truth
about Benedict XVI, a man
who claims the moral
high ground in all things
temporal — not to mention
spiritual — in this world

we live in.
The Pope signed this letter
in 1985
as Joseph Cardinal
Ratzinger when he was head
of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (once known as
the Office of the
He advised the recipient — Bishop John S. Cummins of Oakland, Calif. — that the Vatican would not remove a pedophile priest named Stephen Kiesle, because the matter required further investigation.

Benedict rationalized Kiesle’s criminal activities, advising
Bishop Cummins:

“This court . . .  deems it necessary to consider
the good of the Universal Church together with
that of the petitioner.”


Kiesle was first convicted of child molestation in 1978, just six years after he was ordained.  He then pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of lewd conduct with a child while he was pastor at Our Lady of the Rosary in Union City, Calif.

John S. Cummins
Bishop-Oakland, Calif.
Bishop Cummins, in turn, covered up
these crimes, waiting until 1981 to
make his initial request to Ratzinger
for Kiesle’s removal and laicization. 

Pope Benedict did not defrock
the convicted pedophile priest
until 1987.  And even then, the
miscreant clergyman was still
allowed to minister at parishes
in the San Francisco Bay Area as
a volunteer.
Benedict’s correspondence is proof
that hiding predators in plain sight
is a key element of the pedophile
culture and clerical management philosophy of the hierarchy worldwide. 
Protecting children and vulnerable adults is not.
For many, the Kiesle affair is just another undeniable fact that the Pope is a liar.  The eye-witness testimony and evidence are tangible assets that connect bits of truth that we can put together to form a whole picture that exposes the lie for what it is.

Msgr. David Donald Cox is marketed as a paradigm of priestliness
by the Diocese of Jefferson City.
Reward for Silence
The Benedict correspondence further illustrates that personal connections and professional relationships are as valuable in the making of successful Church careers as they are in the secular workplace.  In Missouri, for example, as Bernard Cardinal Law advanced his own career, Anthony J. O’Connell also climbed the Church ladder one rung at a time: an arrangement they christened during their salad days as the bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau and the rector of St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary, respectively.
O’Connell, in turn, advanced the careers of young seminarians whom he sensed shared his sensibilities.  St. Thomas alumni who benefited from O’Connell’s influence include: Msgr. Gregory Higley (Class of 1972), vicar general; Msgr. Marion Makerawicz (Class of 1979),
STAS rector; the Rev. James Patrick McNally (Class of 1972) STAS dean
of students and vocation director; and the Rev. Brian Driscoll (Class
of 1986), vocation director.  Msgr. David Donald Cox, who taught science at St. Thomas and served as the boarding school’s spiritual director for more than 20 years (1984-2002), transferred to the diocese of from Columbus, Ohio as a college student in the mid-70’s with O’Connell’s encouragement and support.
You, Bishop Gaydos, have maintained the reward structure of this
old boy racket, granting Higley, Makerawicz, and Cox the privilege of adding the purple piping of a monsignor to their cassocks when you promoted them in 2006:  an illicit bargain in exchange for their duplicity in the O’Connell scandal.
The Cox-Pool Sex Scandal 
Msgr. David Cox was ordained
a deacon in 1981 by Bishop
Michael F. McAuliffe.  Source: 
Bishop Anthony J. O
The Anchor, 1982.
The case of Msgr. David Donald Cox
and the Rev. Gary Wayne Pool is
boilerplate Church management
style.  The story of their relationship
to O’Connell is now obscured by
time and circumstance.  But it bears
retelling for the record to illustrate
how an accomplice of a predator
enhanced his own career.
Bishop Michael F.  McAuliffe ordained
Cox and Pool in 1981.  Together,
they joined the St. Thomas faculty
in the early 1980’s at the invitation
of O’Connell.
When you, Bishop Gaydos, shuttered
St. Thomas in 2002, you assigned
Msgr. Cox as pastor of St. Patrick
Church in Rolla.  You have since
marketed to boys and young men
Msgr. Cox as a model priest. In
July 2010, Msgr. Cox was promoted
to a high-profile assignment as pastor
Immaculate Conception Church
in Jefferson City.  In 2010, Msgr. Cox
completed a sabbatical
The Institute for Continuing Theological Education, an organization affiliated with the Pontifical North American College
in Rome.

Pool’s career as a clergyman ended some time ago at St. Peter’s Jefferson City where he was associate pastor for two years (1985-1987) after he was removed from St. Thomas and the Hannibal parish where his activities attracted the notice of concerned parents.

Bishop Michael F. McAuliffe showcased the diaconate ordination
of Gary W. Pool at the 1980 St. Thomas Seminary Family-Alumni
Weekend festivities.  The Freshman Spartan basketball team lost
to the Mark Twain Tigers 50-30.  The Junior Varsity beat the
Madison Panthers 37-35; while Varsity Squad “showed the
Panthers who boss was by winning 72-34.”  At the banquet, the
Rev. Manus P. Daly received a plaque acknowledging 10 years of
service as a “gently, growling bear.”  Msgr. Jacques Wenting
received a plaque to mark his 20-year tenure; and McAuliffe
was given a plaque to celebrate his 10
th   anniversary as bishop
of Jefferson City.  Source:  Anthony J. O’Connell, The Anchor,
1980, p. 46.

His supervisor at St. Peter’s was the serial predator the Rev. John H. Fischer.  Fischer also was responsible to two other associate pastors:  the Rev. Frank Westhoff and Msgr. Robert A. Kurwicki, your personal secretary.  In addition, Pool was allowed to work as a chaplain at Helias High School a pattern of suspect appointments that include
the Rev. Kevin Clohessy, the Rev. Thomas Hereford, and the Rev. Ignacio Medina.
Pool, who married in 1997, was the defendant in civil litigation involving sexual abuse allegations as an associate pastor in Jefferson City.  The victim was 10 years old when he was sexually assaulted.  When he was removed from St. Thomas, the students were told that Pool’s problems stemmed from womanizing.
Sins of Youth
Edward J. Herrmann
Bishop-Columbus, Ohio
David Cox began his clerical career with
the diocese of Columbus, Ohio.  Bishop
Edward J. Herrmann (1972-1983) allowed
him to matriculate the Pontifical College
Josephinum there.
The young Mr. Cox struck up a friendship
at the Ohio college seminary with a
St. Thomas graduate named Gary Pool
(Class of 1973).  By the fall of 1975, Cox
and Pool were implicated in a torrid sex
scandal at the Josephinum.
As with Benedict in the Kiesle case, Bishop
Herrmann (1913-1999) remained cautious as
he considered the Cox-Pool sex scandal as it applied to the Columbus diocese.  Msgr. Frank M. Mouch, the Josephinum rector (1974-1980), investigated the matter.
The process, though, was halted when McAuliffe and O’Connell stepped in to salvage the reputations of the two principals.  A key member of the Josephinum faculty, the Rev. Ralph Huntzinger lobbied for Cox’s dismissal.
Cox, an O’Connell protégé, was admitted to Diocese of Jefferson City as a seminarian; and completed his college career at the Josephinum along side Jim McNally and Greg Higley.  Pool was transferred to Conception Abbey and received his undergraduate degree at the seminary operated by Benedictine monks near Kansas City.
The Rev. Gary Wayne Pool is a St. Thomas alumnus, Class of 1974
(clockwise, top, left): Senior, 1974; Junior, 1973; Sophomore, 1972;
Freshman, 1971.  Pool was ordained by Bishop Michael F. McAuliffe
in 1982.   Bishop Anthony J.  O’Connell, when he was rector of
St. Thomas, appointed Pool as chant instructor (succeeding another
predator, the Rev. John H. Fischer, in this post).  Pool and Msgr.
David Cox served together as members of the seminary faculty.
Source: The Anchor. 

Cox and Pool were reunited in 1977 when they both transferred to Kenrick Seminary to pursue their theological studies at the St. Louis graduate school.
They maintained their long-term affair throughout their academic studies and most likely continued their relationship after ordination and as faculty members at St. Thomas.
David Cox: Winsome Hillbilly
I attended the Josephinum during my sophomore year of college
(1972-1973).  Four years later, I met David Cox when he and I enrolled at Kenrick together with McNally and Pool.  McNally, Pool, and I were well-acquainted from our St. Thomas days.
Those who knew David Cox in 70’s appreciated the winsome ways of his self-effacing demeanor.  He was subdued: his personality focused on an invisible point of concentration, an intense effort to avoid notice and uninvited attention.
Msgr. David D. Cox (front row, left) with the Rev.
James P. McNally (front row, center).  Source:
Michael Wegs, editor, Kenrick News Currents, 1979.

Some credited his shy behavior to his humble origins.  Back then
he would to tell folks that he was just a simple boy from Chillicothe, Ohio.  He claimed to be a child of poverty and rural deprivation.  He liked to label his roots as hillbilly.
Even so, his well-crafted façade sparked the curiosity of certain individuals who hoped instill that level of clerical sophistication required for future success.  And, so, David Cox was assigned the role of spiritual naïf, clad a mantel of innocence that he wrapped desperately round his shoulders to offset his past.
Gary W. Pool:  Mascot and Jester
As Kenrick Seminary’s public
relations coordinator, your’s
truly  edited the academic,
student and alumni publications;
and, as a result, had access
to confidential executive and
management information that
governed the graduate school.
Source:  Kenrick News Currents,
January, 1979, Vol. 6, No. 2
Gary Pool entered St. Thomas as a freshman my senior year (1971).
He attracted O’Connell’s attention:
an eager student as well as a rustic
jester from Montgomery City (aka
Monkey City).
Like David Cox, Pool’s high school
career was that of mascot.  He was a small, artless boy, who met O’Connell’s pre-requisites for special attention: personable yet shy; reticent but coy; happy-go-lucky and sincere.  In essence, he was defenseless child with all the precociousness of Oliver Twist and the potential of an Artful Dodger.
His role as mascot was well defined.
By way of example, we had a nighttime pep rally in early 1971 when St. Thomas Spartans advanced
to the Missouri basketball finals.  I was a member of team,
albeit a bench-sitter.
The rally reached its crescendo with basketball team positioned in
the center of gymnasium, surrounded by yelling supporters and music piped throughout the building.  At the climax, Pool, dressed in “wildcat” costume, was dragged into the gym with a rope around his neck.  A group of students surrounded his prostrate body, curled up on the hardwood floor.  The play-acting students taunted, humiliated and whipped our symbolic rival until moment of impending death by a Spartan sword when the defeated “wildcat” was reprieved in Christian charity as we celebrated wishful victory for the challenge ahead.
We placed third our division that year: an historic first for the
St. Thomas athletic program.  Pool continued to enjoy his assigned role within the student population.
As a student at St. Thomas, the Rev.
Gary W. Pool enjoyed his well-defined
role as student mascot.  Consequently,
he often was the object of attention,
such as being dressed as a “wildcat”
and dragged into the gymnasium with
a rope around his neck to be whipped
during a student pep rally.  Source:
Anthony J. O’Connell, The Anchor, 1972.
By the time Pool and I
reconnected at Kenrick,
he had matured into a
cool extrovert.  He was
a member of my editorial
staff at
Kenrick News
, the alumni
publication.  He also
assisted in the public
relations program that
I established for the
St. Louis seminary.
Pool shared Cox’s appealing
personality, but not his
affected shyness.  In a way,
he had become a con-man,
like Frank Abagnale Jr., as portrayed by Leonard DiCaprio in the film,
Catch Me If You Can, using his personal charm to his advantage.
Cox and Pool: The Josephinum Correspondence
The Cox-Pool liaison and related sex scandals at the Josephinum — which erupted two years after I left the Columbus seminary in 1973 to study journalism at the University of Missouri —  is documented in correspondence by those with first-hand knowledge of the incidents.  The primary sources of this information are Msgr. Higley, Msgr. Stephen Bosso (former rector of St. Vincent de Paul Seminary, Boyton Beach, Fla.), and the Rev. Michael R. Christensen of the Diocese of Lincoln, Neb. 

Michael R. Christensen, 1975
Christensen, who provides the bulk of
the information, was a friend of 30 years
standing until I chose to disclose the
contents of his letters.  He and I were
avid letter writers.  Why I preserved his
correspondence is a mystery.
But I did save his detailed notes on
the Cox-Pool scandal among other
documentation.  And it should be
said that the Cox-Pool affair is mild
compared to the other sex scandals
that permeate the last four decades
of the Ohio seminary.
Gary Pool first arrived on the scene at the Josephinum in weekend of 8 December 1973, according to a letter written by Msgr. Higley, dated 2:00 p.m., 11 December 1973: 

“O’C was up in early November and then came
up just last weekend with a car load of seniors
[from St. Thomas, including] .  .  .   Pool .  .  .
with him.  I think they had a pretty nice time.  Basketball players from Borromeo were up the
same weekend so the extra suites and rooms
were put to use.  Our guys left Monday morning
at 7:30 a.m. and had to be home for a game
that same night.  It was lots of fun visiting
with them all.”

The Rev. David D. Cox, c. 1975,
at the time of the Josephinum
story.  Source:  Anthony J.
O’Connell, The Voice, Summer,
2000, p 4.
In a letter date Wednesday, 5 November
1975, Christensen announces the Cox-
Pool scandal, referring the Josephinum
as “The Hole”:

“The ‘Hole’ gossip is, as I told
you, that someone from the
Columbus Diocese was caught
sucking off Pool.  That got
turned in to the rector that
nite.  I guess one kid must
leave in Dec., but Pool
can stay.”

But I did save his detailed notes on
the Cox-Pool scandal among other
documentation.  And it should be
said that the Cox-Pool affair is mild
compared to the other sex scandals
that permeate the last four decades
of the Ohio seminary.
In fact, Pool left and Cox stayed, as Christensen letter continues: 

”They were moved apart (both lived on 3-North).
I don’t know how either is permitted to stay, as
SO MANY STUDENTS KNOW!  Also how can they
face anyone, e.g.  faculty and/or kids?  How can
the ‘Rectum’ [the rector, Msgr. Frank Mouch]
permit it?!  Both are friends of the current
assistant treasurer [Fr. Pacheco] .  .  .  . 
Fr. [Ralph] Huntzinger tried to get the Columbus
diocese kid kicked out over the summer.”

“One other affair is still going on 3-North.
A freshman got kick out for three seduction
attempts.  Also, the Teen Challenge Girls and
2-3 guys are still “getting-it-on” at the “hole”
pool, rec[reation] bldg., etc.  So .  .  .  .”
In a follow-up letter dated 19 November 1975, Christensen names the Columbus student involved with Pool: 

“Everybody knows about Pool and Cox, but Pool
and Cox pretend no-one knows .  .  .  .  Fr.  O’C
knows about Pool, etc.  .  .  .”

Pool: St. Thomas Predator
The Rev. Michael R. Christensen
first mentions the Cox-Pool
incident in correspondence dated
5 November 1975.
One might forgive the sins of youth as minor indiscretions.
But Cox and Pool matured into feckless clergymen, who, like McNally, remained loyal O’Connell protégés.  They protected their benefactor and nurtured their personal agendas as faculty members at St. Thomas. 

St. Thomas alumni report that Pool aggressively pursued students during his faculty tenure.  For example, Pool man-handled students he tutored in music and the art of the guitar.  He made sexual advances to others who came to him for guidance and support.  O’Connell was loath to remove a loyal protégé and only a crisis would have forced him to react harshly to someone like Pool. 

The nature and excess of Pool’s behavior toward minors clearly alarmed O’Connell who cut short his acolyte’s St. Thomas faculty career (c. 1981-1983): As a result, he and McAuliffe agreed to transfer Pool to Hannibal Catholic Church in 1983 due to his unseemly behavior.  Trouble at the Hannibal parish led to a one-year appointment at St. Joseph Cathedral (1984); and then a final assignment at St. Peter’s, Jefferson City, where he was an associate pastor for two years (1985-1987) with John Fischer as pastor.
Cox and Pool: Pent Up Sexual Energy
The Rev. Michael R. Christensen
offers further details about the
Cox-Pool incident in correspondence
dated 19 November 1975.

Cox and Pool still exuded pent up
sexual energy during the student
days at Kenrick, which opened in
1915.  Archbishop John P. Glennon
dedicated the new $1 million structure on 27 April 1916.

But Cox feared that his sexual past would block his ordination. 

Three years after the Josephinum
scandal, David Cox was a guest in
my home.  He came to Moberly to
attend a New Year’s Eve party and
be with my family the last week
of 1978.

In the wee hours of New Year’s Day, as we sat in my mother’s car in front of our house on Fourth Street,
I listened for several hours as he retold the details of the homely affair.  Interspersed in the details, David also expressed regret for
his misspent youth and worried that his indiscretion would lead only to a dismal future.
Kenrick Seminary opened
its doors 1915.
Pool, conversely, expressed a self-confidence that did not prevent him
from making sexual advances and conquests throughout the Kenrick

phase of his career.
I was a target of Pool’s attention
at Kenrick.  Others, such as Bishop
James A. Wilkowski
, reported similar
attentions from Pool long after he
had been ordained.  As mentioned,
previously, Pool was transferred
from St. Thomas to Holy Family in
Hannibal as a result of his conduct
toward the students.
Msgr. Cox:  McNally Accomplice
As Pool preyed on victims at St. Thomas and elsewhere, David Cox remained silent, protecting his college chum while re-enforcing his loyalty to O’Connell.  He provided similar cover for McNally.  He remains an accomplice to this day.
When O’Connell was named bishop of Knoxville in 1988, Manus Daly became rector of St. Thomas.  McNally, in turn, was promoted from spiritual director to dean of students.  Cox assumed McNally’s
old job as spiritual director.  The chain of predation remained intact at St. Thomas.

Autumn foliage frames the chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas
Preparatory Seminary, Hannibal, Mo.

McNally became a sullen and desolate character after his ordination and return to St. Thomas.  According to alumni entrusted to his care, McNally was a mean-spirited teacher.  He became a menacing bully who denigrated students verbally and physically on a regular basis.
It cannot be understated that O’Connell victimized McNally as
a youth or that this abusive domination was commandeered by
Bishop McAuliffe, who manipulated the situation even more
cruelly.  As we have seen with other cases of sexual abuse,
McNally was groomed as a victim.  He served both O’Connell
and McAuliffe as a travelling companion; he received special
treatment; he was given status by a public display of affection
and recognition unavailable to other students.

The note included in the diaconate
ordination invitation for the Rev.
James P. McNally is dated four weeks
prior to the event: 19 March 1979.

I suspect that the soulful intellectual I knew as a boy was transformed by his imprisonment with O’Connell after ordination.  The knowledge that O’Connell no longer valued McNally as a sexual totem transformed the victim in adulthood.  The young priest also lost the attention of Bishop McAuliffe, who usurped O’Connell’s mantel as McNally’s benefactor, near the end of the boy’s high school formation and throughout his collegiate and graduate school career.
Msgr. Cox: Silent Witness to O’Connell Victims
Cox is privy to McNally’s treachery toward his charges.  He and McNally worked in concert to protect each other.  Cox also knows
the outcomes of O’Connell’s actions toward his victims.

Cox was aware of this situation.  He shielded O’Connell with silence; he serviced the needs of Pool and McNally to preserve their mutual secrets.  Without a doubt, Msgr. Cox is an accomplice.

The Rev. James P. McNally is a St. Thomas alumnus, Class of 1972.  He
enrolled in 1969 as a Sophomore.  He was ordained 20 April 1979 by
Bishop Michael F. McAuliffe.  Photographs by Bishop Anthony J. O’Connell
chronicle his history with diocese (clockwise, left):  Ordination, 1980;
Senior, 1972; Junior, 1971; Anchor Editor, 1972; Sophomore, 1970.
O’Connell appointed McNally to the seminary faculty, serving together
with Cox and Pool. 
Source: The Anchor.

In one instance, David Cox refused to provide medical treatment to
a St. Thomas student who attempted suicide (circa.  1986).  The student, an O’Connell victim, had slashed his wrist in an appalling attempt to escape his misery.  The incident occurred on a weekend when O’Connell, Daly, and McNally were off campus, leaving Cox in charge.  Cox declined to take the boy to the emergency room at Blessed Sacrament Hospital, fearing an investigation by the medical staff.  The hospital is about five blocks from the seminary.

This student’s tragedy is compounded by a similar incident (c. 1985): an event that led McNally to protect O’Connell.  The student over-dosed on a prescription medication that rendered him unconscious.  McNally placed the limp body of the young boy in his car and drove
to St. Mary’s Pharmacy two blocks away at the bottom of the hilltop property.

The Rev. James P. McNally celebrates Mass at St. Thomas with
Bishop Michael F. McAuliffe.  Source:  Anthony J. O’Connell,
The Anchor, 1987, p. 36.

As McNally pulled into the parking lot of drug store, he realized
that the pharmacist would recognize him and perhaps question the need for the antidote he wished to purchase.  In a panic, he drove away with the boy in the back seat of his car and headed north to Palmyra.  McNally attempted several times to revive the boy during the 11 mile escapade until the boy awakened and vomited at a final roadside stop.

Cox also is aware that this student had become a cutter.  His arms, today, are scarred with self-inflicted mutilation: the sign of cross
as a permanent reminder to the abuse he suffered at the hands of O’Connell and willful neglect of priests like David Cox.

Msgr. Cox: Witness to McNally Victimization
As with the victims of Anthony J. O’Connell, Msgr. David Cox also continues to protect the victim(s) of James P. McNally.

O’Connell invited his protégés to the faculty within a few years
of ordination: Cox (1984-2002) and McNally (1983-1993).  Pool’s
St. Thomas career (c. 1981-1984) coincided with his friends.


The Rev. James P. McNally, Dean of Students and Vocation
Director for the Diocese of Jefferson City, is remembered
by his students for afternoon sojourns at Hannibal parks
for what he called “Dream Time.”
 Weather permitting,
his wards enjoyed an afternoon escape from the classroom
and a moment record their thoughts on paper.
then engaged his students in counseling and spiritual
direction to discuss their diaries and take advantage
of their vulnerability and innocence.  Source:  Anthony J.
O’Connell: The Anchor, 1984, p. 98.
The most notorious incident of McNally’s career as a St. Thomas faculty member began to emerge in 1986.  He was 31 when O’Connell brought the St. Thomas alumnus on board as a teacher, counselor, and spiritual director.  He had become O’Connell’s designated heir.  He enjoyed carte blanche autonomy throughout the diocese by virtue of his special relationship with McAuliffe.

It appears that by 1986 McNally began to realize that he had become a wisp of memory to O’Connell and McAuliffe.  Now in his 30s, he could offer nothing to his mentors’ prurient interests.

Growing up and growing old, McNally had become a classic case study: a predator’s castaway.  And so he transferred his own pain and rejection to other young boys who came into his sphere of influence.

Cox and McNally: Grooming Victims, Hiding Crimes
McNally took up the predation grooming tools that O’Connell handed down to him in order to victimize a new generation of students.  O’Connell used psychological testing to engage his victims’ confidences.  McNally used journaling to groom his.

According to St. Thomas alumni, McNally took his students to the Hannibal parks for what he called “Dream Time.” Weather permitting, his wards would bask in the afternoon sunshine and record their thoughts on paper.  McNally then engaged his students in counseling and spiritual direction to take advantage of their vulnerability and innocence.

Msgr. David Cox may not be the best candidate for childcare.

His attention to David Bange, for example, was troubling from the outset and did not go unnoticed by those at St. Thomas and in positions of authority at the Chancery.

McNally overwhelmed the young boy from Bowling Green with extravagant attention.  As he learned from O’Connell and McAuliffe, McNally now granted this student special privileges and allowed him late-night access to his private suite.  With O’Connell the method was labeled spiritual direction; with McNally it was computer games and other forms of entertainment.  The power equation of predator vs. victim is startling.

Eventually, McNally molested Bange in Knoxville, the night before O’Connell was consecrated bishop of the Tennessee diocese; an incident documented by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 2004.

Summertime Jobs at St. Thomas
Msgr. David Cox now is pastor
of Immaculate Conception
Church in Jefferson City.
Perhaps the greatest favor that the
faculty could bestow on a select
group of students was a summer job
at St. Thomas.  In my day, classmates
remained in Hannibal to paint and
refurbish the interiors of the buildings,
maintain the grounds, and participate
in construction projects.  The most
spectacular summer project for my
generation occurred in 1969 when
the Rev. Louis McCorkle and the
Rev. William Forst crafted and
installed the stained glass (actually
a massive confection of Plexiglas)
window in the seminary chapel and
painted cruciform murals behind the side altars.  I recall the names of six boys who were recruited as assistants for that task.

A few others were invited back to help with smaller projects such as “Sem Week,” which I did one summer.  “Sem Week” targeted seventh and eighth graders who visited the boarding school to for a few days to learn about the priesthood.

Sunday, May 6, former St. Thomas students leafted
Msgr. David Cox’s current parish, Immaculate Conception
Church, Jefferson City, to mark the 10th anniversary of
the closing of the seminary.  The leaflet included a letter
highlighting Msgr. Cox’s relationship with the Rev. Gary Pool.
McNally, an apt O’Connell protégé, continued the practice.  He convinced David Bange’s parents to allow their son to travel extensively: vacations to California, Canada, and elsewhere.  When O’Connell relocated to Knoxville, McNally took the boy to visit there.  And McNally arranged for Bange to have a summer job painting the buildings at St. Thomas.

Msgr. Cox: A Summer Encounter in Hannibal
David Cox often maintained his summer presence at St. Thomas, too.  Both he and McNally were in residence in 1990 when I visited Hannibal that summer.

My spouse had never seen visited St. Thomas or Hannibal.  So we decided to drive the Mississippi River road south on west side from
St. Paul, Minn., to St. Louis and the east side north on our return route.  Our objective was to hear the repertoire of Opera Theatre
St. Louis with side visits to Navoo and Galina, Ill.

Last Dance:  The St. Thomas  Class of 2002 posed
with Bishop John R. Gaydos and Msgr. David Cox
at the entrance of the old section of the seminary
complex in Hannibal.  The last graduation class
comprised five students.
When we arrived at St. Thomas, the buildings were locked.  As
we were leaving, though, Pat Montgomery, the facility’s manager arrived.  He offered a private tour of the premises after I reminded him that I was a sophomore when installed the book cases in study hall.

Pat showed us the entire plant and ended the tour with a surprise.  He took us to the faculty wing, saying he wanted to show us some of his best work.  To our surprise he was unlocking the door to McNally’s suite despite our protests.  And, then, like an outlandish scene from Dickens’ Pickwick Papers, the door opened to reveal McNally in his underwear, poised on one leg to pull on his black trousers.

The commotion of the encounter attracted someone from a room
at the end of the darkened hall.  At first, I could not make out
who was walking toward us and then David Cox came into full
light.  Apparently the shock of my presence caused him to pirouette and return to his room, slamming his door shut.  Despite the embarrassment of all concerned, McNally and I chatted for about
30 minutes.  He was performing a wedding and had to leave.

Msgr. Cox: Shielding McNally at All Cost

Msgr. David D. Cox
Msgr. Cox continues to shield McNally for many reasons.  But no longer can he claim innocence or ignorance of the events that damaged so many students at St. Thomas.

McNally’s transgressions were widely known.  As one priest told me, McNally’s behavior was observed and noted, but no one attempted to help the students.

As for Cox , he had his own position to protect.  He could not afford to betray O’Connell or McNally without damaging his own reputation.

A Generation of Pedophiles
By the time St. Thomas Seminary were shuttered, Bishop Gaydos, O’Connell, McAuliffe, and you had raised multiple generations of sexual predators and installed them as faculty members and priests there and throughout the diocese of Jefferson City.

How and why this has happened remains a mystery.  You hold the key to this mystery.  You continue to guard it well.

Further Reading  .  .  .
Did Bozo tell you what happened .  .  .  ?















  1. Hey Emmy! Just wanted to let you know that I check in on you now and then. Bee

  2. Hey Emmy! Check it out. The freaky fake abbot formerly from Iowa has a blog - and llamas!


  3. Thank you for this. I was a student there starting in 83. I HATED JP MCNALLY and to this day I still do. Over the years have thought about the horrible times and few happy times there. Was curious what happened to the staff etc.

  4. Is msgr. David Cox the same one that has just been appointed to Mary Immaculate church AND SCHOOL in Kirksville mo? I PRAY each night that he is not the same predator.

  5. I was there 83-87, and the description of McNally is spot-on. We hated that guy. He was dean then, and no longer spiritual director. It's hard to imagine him taking students to the park and asking about their feelings. Our relationship with him was mostly adversarial, and he was vindictive and mean.

    I remember one time he basically called a kid stupid in the hallway in front of several of us, and told him he should drop out before he flunked out. He probably told himself he was doing the boy a favor, as he was badly in over his head with the tough academics at St. Thomas. But that could have been done privately, not making him feel like dirt in front of his peers.

    I have to admit, in my time there I never saw or suspected any abuse, but I was pretty naive about such things. Looking back, older and wiser, I can see hints, especially from O'Connell. In a way, I feel guilty now, that so many of us were enjoying our time there, going to class and church, playing sports, sneaking ice cream bars from the kitchen at night, and just being boys, while some were being tortured behind closed doors.