The Diocese of Jefferson City

A Case Study of Clergy Sexual Abuse

Monday, November 1, 2010

Childproof 9: Msgr. Higley's Secret Shame, Part I


Page 9

Editorial Update: 18 September 2012

Dear Bishop Gaydos:
Msgr. Gregory L. Higley
The link that connects Msgr. David Cox to the
Rev. Gary Pool and the Rev. James P. McNally
extends to Msgr. Gregory L. Higley, the vicar
general of the Diocese of Jefferson City, and
a number of his colleagues.  We see this in
the rewards mechanism and cronyism that
compensate those who remain silent about
these issues (plum parish assignments,
titles, sabbaticals, etc.).

Recipients of this largesse include Cox
and Higley as well as other St. Thomas
graduates, such as. Msgr.
Michael J.
, Msgr. Marion Mackerawicz,
the Rev.
David Maher, the Rev. Michael
, the Rev. Brian Driscoll, and the
Rev. Gregory Olegschlager (known as
Hercules among his clerical friends).

In July 2010, Msgr. Cox was promoted to a high-profile assignment
as pastor of Immaculate Conception in Jefferson City:  a step up
from St. Patrick’s in Rolla some might say.  Also in 2010, Msgr. Cox was granted a sabbatical to study
The Institute for Continuing Theological Education, an organization affiliated with the
Pontifical North American College in Rome.
Recalcitrant Clergymen
St. Thomas Apologists:
Msgr. Louis W. McCorkle (left)
and the Rev. Michael Quinn,
pastor of Holy Family Church,
Hannibal, Mo., remain loyal to
Bishop Anthony J. O’Connell
and disdain the plight of
clergy abuse victims.
Some ordained alumni are outright
accomplices, such as Higley, Driscoll,
and Wilbers.  Other form the cadre of
O’Connell apologists who are known
collectively as the Hannibal Acolytes:  the Rev. Richard Frank, the Rev. John
Groner, the Rev. Robert Duesdieker
(known variously as Doozie and Duesy),
the Rev. Thomas Seifert, and others.

And then there are the STAS faculty
members — the Rev. Fred (Fredsie)
Elskamp, Msgr. Louis W. (Uncle Lou)
the Rev. Patrick Shortt,
and the Rev. Michael Flanagan —
who have staked claims to protect
their own reputations.  Still others,
like the Rev. Ignazio (Nacho) Medina
and the Rev. Robert (Robbie) Fields
owe their allegiance and silence to
the fact that they were recruited
to Diocese of Jefferson City by

O’Connell.  Their chorus of disdain
makes hatred look unimaginative.

Msgr. Greg Higley (STAS 1972) is a leading member of this faction.

As vicar general of the diocese, he wields power and influence to silence and punish anyone who would address the matter publicly.  His pash for vindictiveness is betrayed in the case of one priest, whose pension he cut in 2008 in retaliation for supporting O’Connell victims and addressing the issue of childhood sexual molestation before an oversight committee in the Missouri legislature.

Father Forst:  Copacetic and Courageous
Rev. William L. Forst
But a number of priests affiliated with
the diocese of Jefferson City have
acknowledged that you, Bishop Gaydos
(and your administration), have worked
hand-in-glove to protect O’Connell and
others implicated in the tragedy at
St. Thomas and beyond.  Msgr. Jacques
Wenting, who taught languages at
St. Thomas for many years, is, perhaps,
the only priest with direct knowledge of
the St. Thomas scandal to admit the facts:
in a letter to another priest who continues
to work for the diocese.  The Rev. Russell
Judge (STAS 1970) is the only ordained
St. Thomas graduate to proffer genuine
sympathy to O’Connell victims and others
molested by priests employed the diocese
of Jefferson City.

The Rev. William L. Forst (1928-2009) died 14 September 2009.  But he was unafraid to express his support for O’Connell victims at the time his memoir was published:  Truth Equals Justice:  An Autobiography of a Co-dependent Priest. 

Father Forst, who taught history and social studies at St. Thomas (1962-1968), was candid in his analysis of O’Connell and your response to the crisis affecting those he molested and those whom he betrayed in e-mail correspondence to me, dated 23 November 2004:
“Thanks for .  .  .  your honesty.  You were a
freshman in the last year of my presence at
St. Thomas.  I left in 1968 as being ‘kicked
out’.  .  .  got the boot that year.  I do
remember us fixing up the chapel to make
Vatican II more real.

“I agree with you about Gaydos .  .  .  .  Perhaps,
as a wounded church . .  .  we have to go through
this agony . . . .  I do appreciate what you are
doing to bring this matter out in the open .  .  .
You are doing a great service to the church.

“I don’t know how to express my sorrow to you
about what happened to you at the seminary.
I do ask for forgiveness for whatever manner in
which you think I was a part of the ‘scheme.’

If you think I am a co-conspirator then you will
not believe what I say, but that doesn’t mean
what I say is NOT the truth. .  .  .  It is up to you
to accept or reject.  Again I can only say that I
have great sorrow for the amazing amount of
pain you have suffered.

St. Thomas Alumni:  Protecting Predators
Msgr. Michael J. Wilbers
The St. Thomas tragedy wrought by O’Connell, though, is compounded by the fact that the ordained STAS alumni and faculty continue in their role as accomplices.
Msgr. Higley, for example, has intimate
knowledge of the story of Msgr. David Cox
and the Rev. Gary Pool at the Pontifical
College Josephinum (PCJ) in Columbus,
Ohio.  The Rev. Robert Duesdieker
(Doozie), the Rev. Ignazio Medina
(Nacho), the Rev. James P. McNally,
and the Rev. Robert Fields, among
other priests with diocese affiliations,
are familiar with this incident which
occurred when they were college
students together at the seminary.

It is important to understand as well that Msgr. Higley is privy to
the particulars of the McNally fiasco at St. Thomas and that his involvement in the case was hands-on.

Msgr. Leonard J. Fick
(1915-1990):  Born in
Rich Fountain, Mo.,
Fick was Academic
Dean (1958-1989) and
Vice Chancellor
(1969-1989) of the
Pontifical College
The Josephinum:  A School for Scandal
More so, Higley is an intimate party to a
series of sexual abuse scandals that
plagued the Josephinum during his
undergraduate career at the Columbus,
Ohio, seminary.  He and another student
(Msgr. Stephen C. Bosso) are the victims
of a sexual assault by a group of predatory
PCJ graduate students:  this attack occurred
during the 1974 Easter recess.

Higley also was manhandled at some point
during his sophomore year by the Rev.

David A. Sartorius (d. 25 June 1988),
the dean of the men for the college of
liberal arts.  Sartorius, a Josephinum
alumnus, was ordained in 1968 for the
Diocese of Toledo, Ohio.

The death of Sartorius is freakish. According to the executor of
his estate, Sartorius died from an injury suffered while umpiring
a baseball game.  He was struck in the thigh by a line drive ball
and was hospitalized. About two weeks after his release from
the hospital a blood clot ended his life.

At the time of his death, Sartorius was the pastor of St. Paul Church in Norwalk, Ohio.  His assistant pastor was a classmate of ours, who knows the history of his boss’s predation and the traumatic events of the Josephinum story being told here.

Msgr. Leonard J. Fick and the Rev. Albert A Krupp were avid
recruiters for the Josephinum.  Bishop Anthony J. O’Connell
photographed them during their 25 February 1975 visit to
St. Thomas.  Fick and Krupp also colluded with O’Connell and
the Rev. Manus P. Daly to cover up the incidents of sexual
molestations by faculty even though some of the victims
were Jefferson City seminarians.  Source:  Anthony J.
The Anchor, 1975, p. 52.
Sartorius, who was known to the students as “Sars,” forced his attentions on Higley in the locker room showers of the school’s gymnasium.  Sartorius also attacked McNally in the same showers
of the athletic facility.

Christensen described the situation in a letter dated 3 June 1974:
“Yes, O’C knows a lot and spoke plenty with
the rector.  Those weren’t rumors about SARS.
SARS was the other ‘deviant’ faculty members.
But don’t bring this up with anyone from
Jeff City, please!

“Also ‘deviancy’ is still going on this year.
Within the past three weeks it’s gotten
a little out of hand in both college and
theology.  Don’t mention this to anyone.”

The Josephinum administration announced Sartorius’ resignation in a letter to students, dated 3 July 1973.  His last assignment was pastor of St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, Norwalk, Ohio.  More about “Sars” later.
The Rev. Albert A.  Krupp:
A Predator’s Best Friend
Christensen offers
this evaluation of the
Rev. Albert A. Krupp:
“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
As with the Cox-Pool tryst annotated earlier
in this report, the victimized parties of the Easter 1974 debacle documented their individual situations in correspondence to
me, in part, because I reported the rape of
a Josephinum student by a faculty member
in January, 1973, to the dean of spiritual formation for the college of liberal arts,
the Rev.
Albert A. Krupp.
We will call the faculty member and administrator REX:  a serial predator who molested quite a number of PCJ collegians.
REX was protected by the Josephinum administration over a period of about five years.  A phalanx of administrators led
by Krupp and Msgr. Leonard J. Fick
(6 September 1915-4 February 1990),
the academic dean for the college of
liberal arts.  Fick, a native of Rich Fountain, Mo., maintained personal and professional loyalties to the diocese of Jefferson City.
As a result, REX was able to maintain a
campus presence for a number of years
thereafter with full access to the students:
no restraining order or prohibition against
student contact was ever issued.

Msgr. Higley:  Documenting Easter 1974
As a consequence of my own experience at the Josephinum with Father Krupp, Msgr. Higley documented the facts of his case in our correspondence.  In addition, our closest confidantes confirmed and corroborated the facts in letters of support to me as this story unfolded over time.
The most prominent members of the Josephinum group are Msgr. Stephen C. Bosso, rector (2000-2005) of St. Vincent de Paul Seminary in Boynton Beach, Fla., and, currently, academic dean and professor of sacred scripture at the Palm Beach diocesan seminary; and the Rev. Michael R.  Christensen (right), the pastor of the St. Peter Church , Lincoln, Nebr.  I introduced both to O’Connell and the relationship continued through Greg Higley after I left PCJ to study journalism at the University of Missouri.  An interesting side note, is the fact that Bosso was appointed rector of St. Vincent after O’Connell was promoted to Palm Beach.
Growing Up Catholic
Gregory L. Higley, 1972,
and the inscription on the
reverse of his graduation
Greg is the product of a good Catholic
family, members of St. Patrick Church
in Rolla.  His two older brothers are
St. Thomas graduates:  Bill, STAS 1967,
and Mike, STAS 1969.  Greg and his
twin brother, Tim, are 1972 alumni.
Many St. Thomas students considered
their sister, Eleanor, to be the gilded
lily among the feminine siblings of
their classmates to visit the Hannibal
campus from time to time.
Christensen grew up in Valparaiso, Nebr.,
an idyllic farming community on the
outskirts of Lincoln.  His childhood home
is a small, white clapboard Victorian,

verging on Gothic Revival.

His father, a middle manager with a
meat packing company, instilled his
children with the pioneer values of
the prairie grasslands.  His mother
was a home-maker of the first rank.
He and sister, Susan, as the eldest
children, assisted on the home front.

Bosso grew up in Pensacola, Fla., with four brothers.  He is the product of a Catholic education that began at St. Stephen’s Elementary School there.
REX:  Sexual Assault and Its Consequence
I first reported to Christensen that REX had raped a student in November 1972.  At that time, Christensen cautioned silence and repression of this knowledge.  Reporting the incident to Father Krupp would accomplish nothing, he advised. And he was right.
Accordingly, he reminded me in a letter dated 25 June 1973:
“O’C, Daly .  .  .  and others do not know
one important thing, and stop to consider
that they might never speak to you if they
saw you on the street, if they did .  .  .  .
You’re right, that one event is what is
against you for the time being.”
Victimized Witnesses
Msgr. Stephen C. Bosso
St. Vincent de Paul Seminary
Boynton Beach, Fla.
So instead we were victimized by the psychic trauma of secrecy.
Christensen describes some of the elements of this internalized pain in
that 25 June 1973 correspondence:

“Why I lose weight I don’t know,
and am not really concerned,
although I realize I should be.
I’ve had a lot of fatigue
headaches lately, but only
one migraine.”

Bosso reports similar concerns six
months later in a letter dated Saturday,
8 December 1973:

“Near the end of the semester, I started having headaches.  The first headaches lasted 3-4 days.  It was utter hell while the headaches lasted. This was something new to me:  I’ve never had them before .  .  .  I talked to M.C. about these damn headaches and he went into a panic. After he settled down he told me .  .  .  he has migraine headaches .  .  .  . 
“About two weeks later, I started having these headaches again only this time they lasted a whole damn week:  I couldn’t take it any longer; they were just too painful. I went to Krupp and he advised me to [see a doctor, who] told me that it sound like ‘equivalent migraines’ but to have my eyes checked completely .  .  .  I had my eyes checked completely and nothing was wrong with my eyes.”
Christensen previously confirmed the deteriorating condition of Bosso’s health in a letter dated 28 October 1973:
“Bosso went to the doctor for his headaches.
He says they are somewhat symptomatic of migraines.  He’s supposed to get some pills .  .  .”

Msgr. Bosso’s letter, dated 31 May 1974 refers to the sexual assault suffered
by Msgr. Higley at the Josephinum during Easter break.

Krupp:  Campus Access for Sexual Predators
Twelve months after REX raped the student I supported, the predator was tracking new Josephinum students.  Christensen documents REX’s renewed efforts in a letter dated 18 November 1973:
“[REX] had a huge drink-in Friday.  [Rafe]
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:  Robbie Fields was a member of the
PCJ freshman class of 1973, along with
Gary Pool.

Msgr. Bosso:  Easter Confession, 1974
Because of my personal situation and the integral facets of our friendships, Msgr. Higley, Msgr. Bosso, and Father Christensen catalogued the trauma of their stories as they began to unfold in the autumn of 1973 and the spring of 1974.
I have preserved their correspondence; and Msgr. Stephen C. Bosso writes in a letter he dated Friday, 31 May 31 1974, referring to the Easter holiday assault:
“I don’t know how much MC has written to
you since EASTER vacation, but I have a
feeling that MC has kept you well informed.”


Msgr. Higley’s letter, dated 21 June 1974, refers to
the pain and humiliation he suffers as a result of
the sexual assault he suffered at the hands of a
group of theologians during Easter break at the
Pontifical College Josephinum.

Hints of Shared Pain and Suffering
Three weeks later, Msgr. Higley confirms Msgr. Bosso’s query in a letter dated June 21, 1974:
“Over Easter Bozo [Bosso] .  .  .  and I spent
$180.00 on booze, pizzas, and cig[s].  No
shit .  .  .  .  Did Bozo tell you what happened
over Easter also? That’s one reason why I
bought so much booze.  Every time I got
drunk I felt better.  I’m going to hate going
back there and see those guys again.”

Christensen shared Higley’s pain as he outlined in a letter dated Saturday, 17 August 1974:
“Last night I wondered how I’d get the courage
to 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.”

Christensen Letter:  23 June 1974

Father Christensen:  A Twice-Told Tale
I learned the story of Greg Higley’s and Stephen Bosso’s victimization in a letter from Christensen in a letter dated, Tuesday Afternoon, 23 April 1974:
“Now, there is some very disturbing news to
tell you about PCJ . . .

“First, don’t discuss this with anyone, or let
anyone read this letter.  And don’t bring it
up with anyone from St. Thomas in Hannibal
past or present.”

And then his pen flows:
“Well, the ‘deviants’ are at it again.  Bosso
and the Higleys [Tim and Greg] stayed here
over Easter and drank and drank and drank
and drank, etc. .  .  .  .  [REX] was around
all the time during Easter, too.  I warned
the Higleys a long time ago about him,
purely from my own experience .  .  .

“Anyway, I’m very concerned for [Greg
Higley] and Bosso, because they can’t
eat, sleep, get work done, etc.  I (and
you) know how that goes.  Needless
to say, I have regrettably resumed
administering therapy, e.g., talking,
some drinking with them, consolation, etc.”

In 1976, the Rev. Christensen and Msgr. Higley, were new
college graduates when they visited Michael Wegs during
his tenure as a small-town newspaper editor in rural Missouri.
Msgr. Higley:  The Crux of His Crucible
Christensen’s letter tells the crux of the story (with euphemisms such as “ice” and “fondle”):
“Bosso and the Higleys .  .  .  went to someone’s house, and [Dylan and Neal] came over to drink with them, which Greg didn’t like because he knew something that may have gone on [earlier].
“Well, everyone got drunk, and then [Dylan]
said it would be fun to shove ice up [their]
asses.  So he got on top of Greg Higley
and did!

“Later after GH got away, [Dylan] fondled
Bosso, after throwing Steve down on the
floor and getting on top of him!  Etc.  Etc.”

And so Christensen’s 23 April 1974 letter continues: 
“You might as well know too, that it was [Logan] got fondled by [Miguel Maria] with [Quinn’s] encouragement.
“And a freshman got it from [Ferdie].  [Ferdie]
got turned in to Fr. Sesto [the dean of men for
school of theology].  Also, [Neal] was sleeping
with a former classmate of his from Florida
who is in the Baltimore seminary.  (He, Nacho
[Medina], and Allan went to see Bucky
in Baltimore).

“And, Nacho told Greg Higley that he knew
[Neal] has been doing this for some time,
and about the others too.  Steve [Bosso]

“They’ve been talking about it endlessly, and
the theologians think it’s a joke, and told all
kinds of people how funny it was, and GH and
poor Bosso hate to run into them because they
keep making remarks.  WHAT A MESS

Further Reading  .  .  .

The story of Msgr. Higley’s college career at the Josephinum will continue with the next posting.

1 comment:

  1. Hi! I came across this page which led me to do some digging that led me to your post. Can I you know of any victim by the name of Timothy? Cos he spread his message via a safelist and the page is at

    There are too many scams around although this comes across as genuine. I need to verify if he is one of the victim of Bishop John R. Gaydos.

    I can be contacted at Thank you!