The Diocese of Jefferson City

A Case Study of Clergy Sexual Abuse

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Childproof 5: New O’Connell Victims, New Stories



 
Page 5



Dear Bishop Gaydos:

  Benedict XVI
A crisis challenges character.  It tests our strengths.  It exposes our weaknesses.

The strong rely on moral objectives and guidance to serve the common good. The
weak fall prey to self-interests, opting for situational ethics to support their self-dealing decision making.

Those who fail to meet the challenge cut
you off.  They make you feel very much
alone in order to eliminate any threat
they perceive in you as a witness to their
deeds.  Those who  fail to meet the challenge paint you as a bad person rather than support you as the good person you really are:  a victim of misadventure and brutality.

We now are seeing this brand of crisis management exercised on
an international scale at the highest levels of trust in the Church as another layer of horror unfolds in the clergy sex abuse scandal.  We now know that even
Benedict the XVI shielded child molesters
as the archbishop of Munich
.

As the New York Times noted on 25 March 2010:

What part he played in the decision making, and how much interest he showed in the case of [the Rev. Peter Hullermann], who had molested multiple boys in his previous job, remains unclear.  But the personnel chief who handled the matter from
the beginning, the Rev. Friedrich Fahr, always remained personally, exceptionally connected to Cardinal Ratzinger. . .

Last week we learned that Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland of Milwaukee informed Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger in 1996 about the sexual molestation of more than 200 boys at St. John’s School for
the Deaf in St. Francis
, Wis., by the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy.

The Pope, as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger and head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (1981-2005), was responsible for all decisions regarding full canonical trials that determine whether or not to defrock a priest.  His response to Weakland, who retired in disgrace himself when his own sexual transgressions were disclosed, was to bury the case with Murphy when the miscreant priest died in 1998.

In an extraordinary moment during his Palm Sunday sermon
at St. Peters, the Pope belittled the facts regarding his management of the Bavarian branch of the Church in Germany
as rumor-mongering despite the evidence to the contrary. 
Since then he has called on the archbishop of New York,
Timothy M. Cardinal Dolan, to denounce the evidence as a
sinister smear campaign.

But we know this good-ole Missouri boy and how he built
his career defending the most notorious child molesters
that the archdiocese of St. Louis has produced in the last
10 years, including the Rev. Michael A. Campbell and
the Rev. Bryan M. Kuchar.

I was a freshman at Cardinal Glennon College when Dolan was
a senior.  Michael Campbell was one of my best friends.  Nearly
15 years later,
Matthew Cosby (see below) became a classmate
of Kuchar.  Our knowledge of these folks is personal and well
placed.  As their former vocation director and supervisor you probably know even more about them.

A Network of Deceit
The rape of children and young people is unimaginable. 
Visualizing
an organized network of deceit and collusion
is incomprehensible.  And this glimpse at the management
style of Benedict XVI provides a devastating account of the
machinations that have been maneuvered to protect pedophile
priests during the three decades as head of the agency once
called The Holy Office of the Inquisition.

The current pontiffs role in casting this dark shadow on our children and families is horrid. But we now have the direct link to your own response to this crisis, Bishop Gaydos; and your rationale for protecting OConnell and so many other sexual predators in your control: and it stretches from the Tiber to the Missouri River.

It is troubling to realize how many pedophile priests were given positions of responsibility and trust in the Diocese of Jefferson City and at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary.  That you and your predecessor, Bishop Michael F. McAuliffe, would then honor these men despite your personal knowledge of the history of their abuse and victimization is numbing.

Joseph M. Marling, C.P.P.S.
We know that OConnell was turned down
by 35 other dioceses
and religious orders
before being accepted by Jefferson City.
This alarming fact, deliberately ignored
by
Bishop Joseph M. Marling
 launched
a career that damaged so many youngsters and with this project we will offer some details about this tragedy; identify predators who you have protected for so many years; and give victims the opportunity this time round to have their say while preserving their privacy with pseudonyms.  After all,
you know the names of each child
predator and his prey.

O’Connell Abused at Minimum 30 to 50 Boys at St. Thomas
In 2002, Christopher Dixon (STAS 1982) disclosed that he had been sexually assaulted not only by O’Connell when he was rector, but also by STAS Dean of Students Manus P. Daly (who succeeded OConnell as rector).  Christopher also was molested as an elementary school student by the Rev. John H. Fischer, pastor
of Holy Family in Hannibal, whom OConnell appointed to the Jefferson City diocesan vocation committee.  Perhaps the most startling fact about Christopher’s story is that he brought charges against these after he himself was ordained and a member of the STAS faculty, working side-by-side with these sexual predators.

Six years after Christophers revelations, you continued to orchestrate offensives against OConnell victims. Since 2008 you have attempted
to eliminate medical care for
Kent: O’Connell’s 10th and most recent publicly identified victim.  As with Morgan,
the Rev. Frank Westhoffs victim, Kent is supported by a few courageous priests working in the diocese.  His case is ongoing today and his story follows below.

To date, 10 students have spoken publicly about O’Connells predationin some cases these facts have been supported by priests-of-conscience working for the diocese. Come to the Stable/The Stephen Spalding Foundation has documented
14 OConnell cases; and the families and loved ones of victims
have reported eight addittional cases. Investigators and legal experts estimate that O’Connell molested between 150 and
200 students during his 25-year at St. Thomas, based on the psychological profile of a serial predator.

The abuse suffered at the hands of Bishop O’Connell is documented
fully in the
civil suits filed his victims.  But the stories contained in forthcoming correspondence from eye-witnesses and the details of the career of this serial predator who was viewed affection and gratitude have been hidden from public view until now (for more information visit Come to the Stable/The Stephen Spalding Foundation and Remember the Survivors).

Since Christophers disclosure, more than three generations
of O’Connell victims have been documented, some molested throughout the course of their entire four years at STAS.  Sympathetic Jefferson City priests have confirmed many
of these allegations against O’Connell.

O’Connell’s Curriculum Vitae: A History of Ordination Rejections
At the USCCB’s 2003 summer conference in St. Louis, a Post-Dispatch reporter told me that O’Connell was turned down by at least
35 dioceses, seminaries, and religious orders before Bishop Marling ordained him as a priest in 1963 for the Diocese of Jefferson City
and installed at St. Thomas.  Since then Joe Rigert, an investigative reporter, has documented OConnells notorious career in
An Irish Tragedy: How Sex Abuse by Irish Priests Helped Cripple the
Catholic Church
.

Throughout his career, O’Connell was promoted readily by both Bishop Michael F. McAuliffe and Bernard Cardinal Law of Boston, Mass. O’C and Law forged a strong bond when Law was bishop of Springfield, Mo., and sent his high school seminarians to STAS.

O’Connell: A Catalogue of Crime
Recently I watched an episode of the old
Perry Mason television series:
The Case
of the Vagabond Vixen
(original air date
31 December 1969).  One of the criminal
characters in the storyline says to the
famous criminal defense attorney:  You
didnt study law in a seminary school. 
The implication being that Masons
high-mindedness is a pretense masking his willingness to skirt the law to protect a guilty client. But as we know, Perry Mason always does the right thing.

So I would like to remind you that 15 years ago, one of the Diocese’s leading Catholic educators, Donna M. Cox, brought allegations about O’Connell and other priests to the attention of Bishop McAuliffe. McAuliffe, who led the Diocese for nearly 30 years, fired Ms. Cox.

And we now know that when St. Thomas students were not available, OConnell and his fellow predators used emotionally draining venues like TEC (Teens Encounter Christ) weekend retreats to victimize youngsters.  O’Connell, in fact, exported these tactics to Knoxville, where he launched his Bunkin’ with the Bish weekend sleepovers
at his private residence.

New O’Connell Victims Identified
You also know that OConnell victims are still coming forward as the cases of Kent and Edmund illustrate below: a partial catalogue of victims, ranked according to the historical timeline of OConnells transgressions between 1964 and 2002.  Zachary and Carter serve as reminders of OConnells sexual rapaciousness.

What we have is a multi-generational history of abuse at St. Thomas Seminary in Hannibal. Again, pseudonyms are applied to some case histories.  The newly-identified victims are designated.  The numbered order is based on the OConnell-St. Thomas historical timeline:

O’Connell Victim 14:  Edmund New
OConnell sexually assaulted Edmund at Sacred Heart School of Theology, Hales Corner, Wisc., in the mid-1990s.

Edmund represents a new hallmark in OConnells transformation to violent predation.

I met Edmund and his father, a doctor, in Chattanooga, Tenn., in 2004 during a speaking engagement at the University of Tennessee.

Edmund is a museum curator.  He was raised Baptist but converted to Catholicism.

When Edmund was a seminarian at Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corner, Wisc., OConnell sexually assaulted him.  As the bishop of Knoxville, OConnell visited the seminary to meet faculty and students.

Edmund was warned by other students that OConnell was a sexual predator, someone to avoid.  Despite this caution, OConnell made his way to the young mans room one evening after supper.  The young man was able to force OConnell to retreat, but his report of the attack was ignored. OConnell was never censured or reported.

At this stage of career OConnell clearly had developed a need for thrill, danger, and fear to satisfy his ravenous sexual appetite.

OConnell Victim 13:  Garrick New
OConnell molested Garrick during his St. Thomas career (1984-1988), according to an eye-witness who caught OConnell with the student in flagrante delicto.

O’Connell Victim 12:  Jordan 
O’Connell Victim 12: “Jordan”
OConnell molested Jordan
throughout his St. Thomas
career (1981-1985), according
to the Jefferson City priest
who has been the victims
advocate for more than
20 years.

OConnell Victim 11:  Kip New
OConnell molested Kip throughout his academic career at St. Thomas (1983-1987), according to his father and a classmate named Phillip.  Per Phillip, OConnell was transfixed by Kips physical endowment despite his charm and good looks.

O’Connell Victim 11:  “Kip”
Kip is a compromised figure in the STAS scandal and the history of clergy sexual abuse in the Jefferson City diocese.  He
was ordained and served in a prominent management capacity as the public face of the Church.

Initially, Kip assumed an active to conceal the truth, suppress evidence, and intimidate witnesses.  But two to three months into the unfolding 2002 drama, he seemed to have suffered an emotional collapse and disappeared. He re-emerged about six months later, married to a woman he was instructing in the Catholic faith.

I also know the anguish of Kips parents, as well as their suspicions that OConnell molested their son.  I am well informed of O’Connell’s fawning attempts to curry favor and support among the St. Thomas alumni. I know of his inability to feel their utter disgust at this ultimate betrayal of trust.  This family remains broken by OConnells victimization and their misery illustrates the extent and damage caused by clergy sexual abuse.

The 22 April 2008 communiqué from Kips father deserves acknowledgement:

Mike I spoke with you about 3 years ago when my son . . . was thinking of leaving the active priesthood.  To this day both my wife and I say that Bishop OC abused him.  He did leave the priesthood and married but we still feel that he was abused. We wrote to OC and he just answered with what a wonderful boy Brian was. Not sure what that means.  I still get nausius [sic]when I think of that big fat old man naked rolling around with some poor innocent little boy. Thanks again for carrying on your fight to have him imprisoned.

OConnell Victim 10:  Matthew Cosby
O’Connell Victim 10:  Matthew
Matthew arrived at STAS more
than a decade after I graduated.
A member of STAS Class of
1986, he represents
the third generation of O’Connell victims at St. Thomas.

O’Connell brutalized Matthew psychologically and emotionally throughout his high school career and then followed him to college at Conception Seminary (1986-1990) to enforce the illicit relationship.  The Rev. James P. McNally and Msgr. David Cox supported OConnell and worked in concert to terrorize this student.

The Rev. Brian Driscoll (left to right), Bishop John R. Gaydos,
and Bishop Michael F. McAuliffe worked in concert to intimidate
O’Connell victims and protect other STAS predators such as the
Rev. James P. McNally and the Rev. Manus P. Daly.
I heard OConnells desperate telephone calls to Matthew first-hand as he attempted to stop public disclosure of his crimes. 
I read O’Connell’s cloying e-mail messages promising cash rewards for his silence.  I read O’Connell’s transcripts detailing his fear
of discovery.

I witnessed your attempted intervention to quash legal action and public disclosure of O’Connell’s offenses, using the Rev. Brian Driscoll as the bag man in this nefarious scheme to allay justice.

O’Connell’s 18 March 2002 e-mail message pleading with his
victim to keep his secret, naming the Rev. Brian Driscoll as his
intermediary.

I experienced Matthews terror first-hand as you sought to silence the truth and bury the past.
 
The amazing element of Matthews story is the utter lack of conscience revealed in OConnells e-mail messages, especially one dated 18 March 2002.  OConnells voice-mail messages further confirm your attitude as you and he attempted to co-opt Matthews silence and then press Brian Driscoll, his STAS classmate, into service for yet another misdeed:

I plead with you for the love of God to hold up on anything that you might be inclined to do . . . publically with a lawsuit or anything else, OConnell requests.  I really want to try and salvage whatever I can for your personally. You are the most important thing to me.

Three transcripts of O’Connell’s March 2002 voice mail messages
asking his victim not to publicize his situation and to refrain
from legal action.  O’Connell’s offers to meet with the victim in
a state bordering Missouri and, again, mentions Brian Driscoll as
intermediary.  “You are the most important thing to me,”
O’Connell tells his victim.

As with Victim 14, Edmund, Matthew represents another hallmark in the arc of OConnells predatory career.  By the mid-80s, OConnell sexual gratification had moved from voyeuristic and non-threatening sexual encounters to bedding STAS students.  In addition, his need for variety and type became more pronounced as he began to recruit young boys statewide to study for the priesthood at the Hannibal boarding school.

Matthew, for example, was not affiliated with Jefferson City.  He fell
into OConnells grasp when
Bernard Cardinal Law, as the bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, sent the young boy to St. Thomas.  Law
and OConnell developed an intimate friendship as a result of their professional connection.  Law appreciated OConnell fundraising and recruitment skills.  As Law moved up the ecclesiastical ladder, so did OConnell: their reputations exposed late in life with all the horrid details they weve come to know all too well.

The extent of your effort to extort silence from victims is unsettling. As Matthews situation symbolizes, you are willing to exercise any and all necessary measures to maintain the secrecy of the sexual offenses of pedophile priests working for the diocese. You cannot recognize the essence of justice and charity. In fact, justice and charity are not in your vocabulary.

O’Connell Victim 9:  Kent New 
O’Connell Victim 9:  “Kent”
In 2008, the diocese began to orchestrate a move to eliminate medical care for Kent: O’Connell’s 9th and most recent victim to
be publicly identified and
9th target in the STAS timeline.  The situation remains unchanged.

The intercession of a courageous clergyman working for the diocese has halted that effort temporarily.  In fact, this priest is responsible for coercing you to continue medical care for Kent.

Kent was a freshman in 1979 at St. Thomas Seminary in Hannibal
when O’Connell molested him.  When Kents father learned of the molestation, he removed his son from St. Thomas and OConnells snare.

Kent is the son of a former well-placed diocesan employee and someone who held a highly visible position in the community.  Shortly after Kent left St. Thomas to escape O’Connell, his father was fired from his job. The role the Rev. George Kramer in this matter has been duly noted.

O’Connell Victim 8:  Christopher Dixon
O’Connell Victim 8:  Christopher
Christopher Dixon’s revelations
of abuse by O’Connell, Daly, and
Fischer have nurtured our
courage to demand justice. 
He also represents the second
generation of O’Connell’s known
St. Thomas victims.  His courage
permits us to draft this correspondence and to renew our demand for the full disclosure of the events that led to the demise of the seminary in Hannibal and encourage other victims to come forward.  OConnell molested Christopher throughout his St. Thomas career (1975-1979).

O’Connell Victim 7:  Duncan New
O’Connell Victim 7:  “Duncan”
OConnell molested Duncan
throughout his St. Thomas
academic career (1968-1972). 
Duncan was a sweet and tender youth from Monroe City, where his father had retired from the Navy.  He was bright and intelligent.


His classmates were wary of Duncan, because he was considered OConnells fair-haired boy.  Msgr. Jacques Wenting, our French
and Latin teacher, was charmed by him as well.

OConnell adopted Duncan as his protégé as time passed at
St. Thomas.  Eventually, Duncan began to travel with OConnell; they toured Ireland together; he met OConnells family.  And, then, Bishop Michael F. McAuliffe began to take an interest in Duncan.


Many of us sensed a rivalry had developed between OConnell and McAuliffe for control of the boy.  We now have to wonder what Duncan suffered as result of this familiarity with his teachers and mentors. 

What price did he have to pay for this attention?

O’Connell Victim 6: Carter New
Carter was a friend of Zachery, OConnells fifth victim in the STAS timeline.  OConnell molested Carter more than once at least during his freshman year (1967-1968) at St. Thomas.

O’Connell Victim 5:  Zachary New
O’Connell Victim 5:  “Zachary”
Zachary is a member of the
STAS Class of 1970. 


O’Connell molested Zachary throughout his sophomore year (1967-1968), usually when he monitored
the student dormitories, which was a nightly routine.  The pretext for the molestation was to help O’Connell better understand the functions of one’s anatomy so that he could properly counsel Carter, who was Zachary’s friend.

OConnell conducted bed checks throughout his tenure as
dean of students, spiritual director, and rector.  OConnell
often meandered through the student quarters three times
a night.  And in Zacharys case, he would stand by his bed
at night (he had the top bunk-bed) and fondle him in the
darkness, waking him at 2:00 a.m., 4:00 a.m., or whatever
time he chose.

Bishop Michael F. McAuliffe
experienced no qualm of
conscience participating
in the criminal activity of
Anthony J. O’Connell by
protecting the pedophile
priest from prosecution
and promoting his friend’s
career advancement.
OConnell told Zachary that Carter,
a member of my freshman class, was
troubled by masturbation. O’Connell
said he could not help Carter avoid sin,
because he did not know how an erect
penis looked or felt.  But Zachary could
help by letting O’Connell examine his
body during bed checks. Zachary agreed
and the abuse remained constant
throughout his sophomore year.

A Jefferson City native, Zacharys his
family was closely allied with the Church
and members of his family worked at
the Chancery.  His experience with
OConnell, needless to say, has affected
his personal life so adversely.

Zachary is a highly successful businessman;
well connected, with a loving family.  But
he has married and divorced three times.  He never disclosed to his wives his encounters with OConnell. He has lived in fear that his former spouses will use the information to deny him access to his children.

Zachary has been driven from the Church despite advanced study for the priesthood at Cardinal Glennon College and Catholic University in Washington, D.C.  His father intuits that OConnell molested his son.  But Zachary now fears that confirming the truth will hasten his 80-year-old fathers death; and so he is resigned to bear the pain in secret.

OConnell Victim 4:  Alexander
O’Connell Victim 4:  “Alexander
Alexander was Zachary’s classmate and a member of
the STAS graduation Class of 1970.  Like Zachary, he was
a Jefferson City resident.

O’Connell molested Alexander on a frequent basis throughout his four years at St. Thomas (1966-1970).  He told Alexander that he could never become a priest unless he let O’Connell help him control his desire to masturbate.

O’Connell held Alexander hostage whenever he needed pin money from his school bank account, which O’Connell controlled. When Alexander needed money, he had to go to O’Connell’s office.  Once inside, O’Connell would close the door and prop a chair under the handle as extra protection to prevent interruption.  He forced Alexander to strip in his office and submit to molestation. Alexander and O’Connell called these sessions “crying buckets.”

O’Connell Victim 3: Michael Wegs
Michael Wegs was molested by OConnell during his freshman and sophomore years at St. Thomas (1967-1969).

When I filed suit against O’Connell in March 2002, he was advised to implicate the Rev. Manus P. Daly, who was dean of students and the man he turned to for spiritual direction after O’Connell’s transgressions.  I refused.

Consequently, the double shock of O’Connell’s and Daly’s crimes is difficult to bear.  Even more so is the fact that I was made aware that Daly did not molest me because he and O’Connell had divided the school and I was considered O’Connell’s property!

OConnell used psychoanalysis as a grooming technique.  When I was sophomore, OConnell sent me to a psychologist at Quincy College to discuss my parents’ divorce.  The Rev. John Boland drove me to these sessions.

My parents were not advised of the medical treatment.  OConnell told me not to tell my mother, because the information would be a burden and a worry.

John Curran
During my sessions, the therapist, John Curran, asked me to describe the ten inkblots of the Rorschach test as a means of revealing personal information.  OConnell took the medical information and used it to talk about human sexuality during spiritual direction sessions. John Curran was hired as a faculty member my senior year to teach English.

OConnell often asked me to describe my classmates physical attributes based on
locker-room and showering observations.  
He was blunt about penis size, erections,
musculature, pubic hair, and similar features.  OConnell usually directed the conversation toward my friend, Larry, to elicit salacious details:  Did I know if Larry masturbated?  Would I like to have sexual relations with Larry?  How big was Larrys chest?

OConnell also sexualized the Rorschach reports.  My stories of teenage angst, loneliness, and family crisis were wrong, he said.  According to OConnell, the inkblots were about matters sexual: indicators of sexual ambivalence; preferential tendencies and positions; and related inclinations.

Rita Healy
Invariably OConnell told me that sexual relationships between men were permissible if they were priests and seminarians despite all notions to the contrary.  This is how we express our love for one another in the Church,
he said.

Daly arrived at St. Thomas when I was a
junior and he became my new spiritual director.  OConnell attempted to dissuade the boy from seeing Daly, claiming that his spiritual progress
would be harmed.

My first meeting with Daly was significant.  He asked why we should discuss masturbation. When that OConnell devoted much of their conversations to the topic and other matters sexual, Daly replied that spiritual direction was not about sex but religious matters.  The subject of sex was never mentioned again.

The other troubling aspect of this story is that O’Connell hired Curran to teach English to the sophomore and junior classes when I was a STAS senior.  His graduate assistant, Rita Healy, joined the faculty to teach creative writing to the senior class.

I was embarrassed by Curran’s presence on campus.  I did not know why he was there. I wondered if O’Connell allowed him access because I sought spiritual direction from Daly. I was afraid.

Healy’s pedagogical technique was to draw a square on the blackboard and ask us to describe our vision within the four lines of the box.  Jim McNally would use a similar technique years later when O’Connell brought back to St. Thomas as dean of students.  McNally’s students were required to keep journals. He often would take them to Hannibal’s public parks for journaling sessions he called “Dream Time.”  He used this information to victimize students during spiritual direction or private counseling.

O’Connell Victim 2:  Terence
O’Connell Victim 2:  “Terence”
A second member of my class, Terence, was molested during his freshman and sophomore years at STAS (1967-1969).  His parents removed him from STAS during the second semester of his sophomore year when he told them about O’Connell’s violations.  O’Connell attempted blackmail to prevent this disclosure: he threatened to tell Jonathans parents that their son was “queer” if he exposed the truth.  Terence was unbowed; and O’Connell followed through with his threat.  But his parents knew that that their 80-pound son was no match for 220-pound sexual predator.

Terence was co-opted by OConnell for nearly three decades.  During his tenure as bishop of Knoxville, Tenn., he had Jonathan supply him with pornography (he said the material was used in counseling and pastoral care).  He also bragged about sexual encounters with men and boys (it seems OConnell liked to frequent truck stops as he travelled the country on church-related business.

Terence eventually told Bishop Raymond J. Boland, leader of the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese, about OConnell.  He hoped that Boland, an Irish native himself, would confront his fellow countryman about the matter.  Terence believed that Boland would be the strongest candidate in dealing with OConnell, because he would be able to muster the bishop of Savannah, Ga., for additional support: his brother, J. Kevin Boland. Terence was ignored by both men.

O’Connell Victim 1:  Stephen Spalding
O’Connell Victim 1: 
Stephen Spalding, 1971
The mother of Stephen Spalding removed her son from STAS at the end of the first semester of his freshman year in 1967.  One day he was in class; the next, he was gone.

Stephen Spalding grew up in Monroe City, about 30 miles from the town and river made famous by Mark Twain.  He was my friend even though I am from Moberly, Missouri, about 30 miles south-west of Monroe City, and 70 miles from the Mississippi River.

Stephen’s father died in the summer of 1962.  He confided his sorrow and pain to O’Connell, his spiritual director and guidance counselor, only to find himself in the hands of a serial sexual predator.

Stephen told his mother that O’Connell had molested him.  After
reporting the abuse to the rector, Father Richard Kaiser, and the chancery, Stephen enrolled at Jefferson City High School, where
he graduated.  I continued on to graduate in 1971.

I discovered at Christmastime 2002, the reason that Stephen left
St. Thomas.  Stephen’s sister, Sarah Spalding, reported O’Connell’s
sexual transgressions to civil authorities when she learned that
Michael, too, was a victim of this pedophile.

For nearly 35 years, I believed O’Connell’s reasons why his friend never said good-bye; why Stephen never wrote; why there was
only this special memory of a young boy who wanted to be friends. O’Connell offered various reasons for the Stephens departure.  At first, he said Stephen didn’t like the boarding school environment.  Then, Stephen didn’t have a vocation.  And then, Stephen wanted to go to public school.

In the end, O’Connell told me that Stephen left no forwarding address to prevent any letter writing.

Eventually, to drive home the point, O’Connell told me that the Stephen and his family were no longer Catholic and that they wanted no contact at all.  And then one last stab: O’Connell told me that the Stephen and his family had left Missouri and, again, left no forwarding address, so any contact with his friend would
be impossible.

Stephen had a successful modeling career, but died at the age
of 29.  Nonetheless, he will always be a part of my childhood memories:  he is the first stranger I met in life who wanted to
be my friend.  He is a friend lost in time.
 
Next Time: Predatory Priests of Jefferson City, Mo.