Editor’s Note: To protect the identity of certain students who attended the
Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, all names placed in square
brackets are pseudonyms. Updated 29 July 2013.
And we, too, remember . . .
Our Lady of Peace Monastery, Columbia, Mo., provided spiritual
and financial support to Come to the Stable/The Stephen Spalding
We recall the kindness and generosity of the Benedictine Community of Our Lady of Peace Monastery in Columbia, Mo. The late Prioress JoAnn Schmidt, O.S.B. (b. 20 May 1935; d. 15 October 2007), and the late Susanna Jones, O.S.B. (b. 8 July 1929; d. 11 June 2004), as well as their consoeurs, recognized the ramifications of childhood sexual abuse involving clergy. Sister JoAnn and Sister Susanna acknowledged the history of abuse at St. Pius X Elementary School, Moberly, and at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary, Hannibal. In particular, they recognized the sorrow of my Mother, something that you and Bishop O'Connell have failed to do.
Sister JoAnn and Sister Susanna taught at St. Pius during the
Rev. John Whiteley’s tenure Susanna taught literature at St. Pius
when I was in the eighth grade. She encouraged us to read the Great Books, introducing Jane Eyre, Moby Dick, A Light in the Forest, Tales
of a Wayside Inn, among other titles and authors (with a tangential foray into the childlike poetry of William Blake and the simplicity of Edna St. Vincent Millay).
They were well-aware of the scandal at that consumed St. Thomas and the students educated when Bishop Anthony J. O’Connell was rector. They joined others, such as Consequently, Our Lady of Peace willingly offered financial and spiritual support to Come to the Stable/The Stephen Spalding Foundation.
Bishop Carroll T. Dozier
of Brutality and Desparation
Despite Fuller’s flaws, he was personable,
sensitive, and intuitive. He was treated
badly by the Pontifical College Josephinum
(PCJ) administration. He was treated
badly by his friends, who feared that
they would be tarred by his failings.
Unfortunately, their assumptions
His PCJ record notwithstanding, Gregory
James Fuller was ordained a Roman
Catholic priest for the diocese of Memphis,
Tenn., which was established in 1970.
Fuller floated around for several years after leaving PCJ, until he enrolled at Memphis Theological Seminary, an academic institution affiliated with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America.
At this point in time, Fuller became the fact totem of the new Roman Catholic bishop of Memphis, Carroll T. Dozier. Fuller was employed as the bishop’s chauffeur, valet, and general office assistant.
Dozier ordained Fuller with deleterious effects. Alcoholism affected his ability to perform at his full potential. He did seek treatment for his disease in 1989 at St. John Vianney Center in Downington, Penn., but he could not overcome his demons.
Archbishop J. Peter Sartrain
was protected by J. Peter Sartrain, the
newly appointed archbishop of Seattle,
Wash., and the former bishop of Joliet,
Ill., and Little Rock, Ark.
But Fuller’s life ended in ignominy.
In August 1995 he was granted a leave
of absence. A year later in September
1996 at the age of 44, he committed
suicide. His body was discovered on
Tuesday, September 10, in a motel
room at a Days Inn in Jackson, Tenn.
His death coincided with the arson,
arrest, and conviction of another Memphis
priest: the Rev. Charles F. Sauer.
Christensen’s observation about fuller more than 20 years earlier rang true in his letter dated 3 October 1974:
“Somehow I just don’t care about Fuller too much. He was so dumb to come back here. No good for poor Gregory can come from it. And he will have a whole like ahead of him without us! Isn’t that a bad thing to think, let alone say and w rite!?!?”
Mary Jo Weaver, Ph.D.
to Scandal and a Culture of Secrecy
Mary Jo Weaver, Ph.D., who retired as
Professor Emerita from the Department
of Religious Studies at Indiana University
after a 31-year tenure, was a supernumerary
to these events. She proposed a re-section
of the situation. Known as “Butch” among
the students, Dr. Weaver recommended
expulsion for all involved.
Christensen notes her strategic plan in
a letter dated 1 February 1975:
“The new rector hates me, as does A.A.K., and Mary Jo [Weaver] wants me and four others kicked out. Naturally we’ve gone to [Msgr. Leonard J.] Fick. Ultimately we shall win some battles, but lose the war, for [Msgr. Frank M.] Mouch won’t put up with this next year.”
Weaver and others in the administration and on the faculty sought damage control by rooting out all perceived danger. Sensitive pruning and sensible gardening were avoided and the perpetrators who attacked Higley and Bosso remained unscathed.
Shelter from the Storm
There is some mystery as to how Higley, Bosso, and Christensen survived the second wave of scandal.
As Christensen noted, he and Higley relied on the mercy of their vocation directors. Hence Higely’s support of O’Connell and his silence about the St. Thomas scandal and the abuse of children in the diocese of Jefferson City by his ordained colleagues.
Glennon P. Flavin
well-protected from the Josephinum
administration. Christensen was
extremely close to Msgr. Leonard
Kalin, who also was director of the
Newman Center at the Lincoln campus
of the University of Nebraska, and he
received consideration from his bishop,
Glennon P. Flavin: upon ordination
Christensen was assigned to a number
of small parishes for the first 3-5 years
before being promoted to a prestigious
post as superintendent of Neumann High
School in Wahoo, Nebr., his alma mater.
Two of Christensen’s first assignments
were trouble-shooting ventures, replacing
priests caught up in sexual indiscretions.
Flavin was a St. Louis auxiliary bishop (1957–1967) and the product of the archdiocesan seminary education program before assuming his duties in Lincoln (1967–1992).
Bishop Flavin is known to have molested at least four young girls during his Missouri career (ordained a priest in 1941; auxiliary bishop, 1957–1967). The allegations are noteworthy in that Roman Catholic ritual was used to victimize these children.
Bishop Flavin (1916–1995) also is known to have associated with a number of predatory priests using religious as a guise to attack young girls. According to the victims, this group includes Msgr. Maurice F. Byrne, former St. Louis vice-chancellor; Msgr. George A. Lodes, who built and dedicated in 1978 Sainte Geneviève du Bois Church in Warson Woods, Mo.; and Msgr. Michael Owens.
Bishop Flavin’s brother, Msgr. Cornelius J. Flavin, is the first pastor with who Dolan shared a rectory as a newly ordained priest. Dolan considers Cornelius J. Flavin (1909–1996) to a modern-day Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney, the 19th century French priest canonized in 1925 by Pius XI and now known as the Curé d’Ars, patron of clergymen. How Cornelius Flavin dealt with his brother and his brother’s associates is open to speculation in light of the fact that the archdiocese of St. Louis maintains control of documents that identify pedophile priests.
Bosso, at first, does not appear to be so lucky. He had personal misgivings about the Church structure. He left the seminary in summer of 1975 as a result of his despair nurtured by three years of psychology terrorism. After an absence of about 18 months, he returned to continue his education and receive Holy Orders for the diocese of Pensacola, Fla.
Christensen documents the crisis of conscious in a letter dated
21 August 1975:
“I have some very upsetting news . . . . that I doubt you’ve heard yet. Bosso quit, effective 6 August 1975. His bishop and vocation director accepts his request for a leave of absence. Stephen gave no answers to our questions of why? He commented in a letter to me that since he’s ‘fucked up’ [he] might as well stay ‘fucked up.’” God, Bosso just can’t handle a mental case.
The Rev. Michael R. Christensen, like Msgr. Gregory L. Higley, expressed
similar despair about life at the Pontifical College Josephinum (1971-1975)
in correspondence to his friends (left to right, 1972, 1975, 1986, 2010).
“Fuller pulled us all down. Because of him, Mouch got us all in his office and worked havoc on us all to cover his own stupid foibles, which an intelligent high school administrator wouldn’t make, let alone a seminary rector.
“My difficulties are directly related to the Fuller affair. And with Easter ’74 barely behind him, the Fuller episode(s) just proved too much, I think. However, Bosso never said anything was wrong after February ’75. It all just happened.
“[Robert] Gonzales, [vice-rector of the Josephinum 2000-2004,] is worried sick now [because of his close relationship with Fuller]. Gregory Higley will suffer very much because of this. He wanted to just quit like Boss in January and February ’75. It will be difficult for him now with no close confidante . . . .
“I predicted to a Lincoln priest friend both Bosso’s and Higley’s demise. Higley’s will be soon. He’ll only continue [at PCJ] to get a B.A. [his graduate school work was completed at Catholic University of America].
Msgr. Stephen C. Bosso concurs with Msgr. Gregory L. Higley and
the Rev. Michael R. Christensen in his correspondence and
description of the culture of abuse at the Pontifical College
Josephinum, Columbus, Ohio.
“Gregory told me he re-read my prophetic letter the day he received Bosso’s. But you know, Michael, both he and Stephen, should never let ‘debacles’ such as we have suffered seriously deter or affect [us]. The losses were personal and generally irrelevant to the calling from God to serve and love.”
The scandal of the Easter 1974 sexual assault — together with Fuller/Parish fiasco – continued to haunt Higley, Bosso and Christensen into the 1974-1975 academic year.
Christensen concluded his 21 August 1975 correspondence with a cri de coeur that reflected Higley’s personal pain:
“Sometimes I could just jump out of my skin, but then I hold back, as I realize I’d only lose my mind, and thereby jump directing in[to] a straight jacket [sic]. Shit! Forcing oneself to act when basically insane is a rough job!
“I can only add I regret almost totally that I went to college seminary. Specific regrets of my life at ‘The Hole’ are too numerous and agonizing to go through. God save me for some mysterious reasons, with no help or merit from me.”
The Josephinum student identification card for Yours Truly.
The Josephinum: An Unbroken Circle of Pain
Christensen notes that his senior of college was no different than the previous years at the Josephinum.
Drug use by students remained a problem as ne notes in a letter dated Saturday Night, 1 February 1975:
“[Jason Vicars] is back. He is popping pills (with two other kids!!!) and is zonked or stoned or what — even for two days at a time.”
To further highlight the level of the crisis at the Josephinum, Christensen added a coda to his 1 February 1975 missive:
“Two police cars were here Wednesday. We had an attempted afternoon heist on 1-N by two 25-30-year olds [collecting a drug debt].
“Actually since I’m used to ‘ALL THIS’ emotionally, I haven’t suffered too much, but pseudo-assimilation has caused me to sleep poorly, migraines, etc. Higley and Bosso are doing 50-50. Don’t write them on this or they’ll kill me. Wouldn’t advise a visit until after Easter, IF AT ALL, because no one is feeling well at all, and there is great
uneasiness . . .”
The Josephinum: Churning the Cycle of Abuse
In a letter dated 16 October 1975, Christensen offers some finality
to the situation:
“Prepare yourself before reading this, e.g. a drink — make it
“Spoke over the phone with S. Bosso two weeks ago. He’s working construction, and has seen his so-called spiritual director once . . . . He also got a call from G. Fuller, who wants to join the Greek Orthodox Church and become a priest for them.
“Fr. Huntzinger tried to get a notorious fag dismissed this summer, but the assistant treasurer (Fr. [Joseph] Pacheco) stopped the dismissal as he and his ‘children’ are always accused of that and
such a scandal would make the fact — uh, I mean rumors — worse
and more rampant. Another gay, two times apprehended, is still
at ‘The Hole,’ and being sent to see a priest psychologist at OSU.
[Hale “Buffy” McIntyre] quite in order to live with another man
in Texas . . . .”
At the start of his senior year at the Pontifical College Josephinum,
Christensen highlights the continuing degeneration of the cultural
environment in a letter dated 16 October 1975.
Josephinum Dean Revealed as a Child Molester
We should not be surprised to learn that the Rev. Joseph Pacheco succeeded REX as a resident serial predator at the Josephinum. Ordained in 1967, he was employed as a faculty members and administrator for four years, 1974-1977.
Pacheco was transferred to the Josephinum from the new Diocese of Fresno, Calif., after allegations emerged that he had molested young boys. In his new position as Dean of Men at the graduate school of theology, Pacheco protected a number of questionable characters, as Christensen notes in the correspondence. But the administration, particularly, Msgr. Fick and Msgr. Mouch, tricked the students into believing that Pacheco represented their best interests.
A Network of Cardinals and Bishops Protected Pacheco
Timothy Cardinal Manning, the first bishop of Fresno, was promoted
to the Archdiocese of Los Angele (1970-1985); and he was named
to the College of Cardinals in 1973. Manning and his successor in
Fresno — Hough Aloysius Donohue — were well-aware of Pacheco’s predation.
For the record, Roger Cardinal Mahony, the disgraced former archbishop of Los Angeles, got his start as the auxiliary bishop of Fresno (1975-1980), and then moved on to Stockton (1980-1991) before landing in L.A. (a career tainted by crimes against the vulnerable). The overlapping careers of Mahony and Pacheco is as curious and it is coincidental: another example of secrets shared by a network of conspirators. Each and all had to be in the information loop to promote a predator as an academic and role model for students at the only pontifical seminary in the United States.
Bishop Acknowledges Msgr. Pacheco Allegations;
Fresno Diocese Settles Case for $750,000
Pacheco’s crimes against children finally were made public in 2003, as the result of a lawsuit. Accord to court documents, Pacheco, sexually assaulted at least one altar boy in his parishes repeatedly during a 3-year-period (1965-1968) at the parish rectory of Sacred Heart Church, Merced, and at St. Rita Church, Tulare. The 2003 civil suit also alleged that Pacheco molested the child during weekend camping trips at a nearby mountain resort.
John T. Steinbock, bishop of Fresno (1991-2010) confirmed the allegations against Pacheco in 2006, noting that Pacheco molested
a number a young boys in his care. Following his stint at the Josephinum, Pacheco was named a monsignor in 1983. Pacheco died in 1992 at the age of 60. Pacheco’s assignment history can be found at BishopAccountability.com.
The diocese of Fresno settled the Joseph Pacheco case for $750,000, indicative of the severity of the crime against a child.
More Details Emerge from Josephinum Letters
Christensen’s letter, dated 16 October 1975, follows up his comments about Pacheco with more inside information about the Josephinum culture and lifestyle:
“Bosso not returning is a severe blow to the student body morale in both departments [college and theology]. The new college philosophy professor has a French poodle which he brings to class and lets it roam around the room. Msgr. Ineffectual — uh, I mean Msgr. Fick —
says he can do nothing about it . . . .
“Girls from TEEN CHALLENGE now swim once a week in the pool and several studs swim, etc., with them. The ‘roar’ cannot be heard any more, just those beds constantly humming!”
In the fall of 1975, Christensen enrolled at Holy Trinity Seminary in Dallas to complete his theological training. Christensen survived the Josephinum scandals despites Msgr. Frank Mouch’s attempts to derail his ordination in order to preserve the integrity of the Josephinum’s secrets, because Flavin and Kalin rejected the falsification of the facts of the case.
Christensen continues his record of the saga in a letter dated
21 August 1975, :
“Finally, my own situation, my nerves are exhausted. Many times
I contemplate dismissal and the necessity of looking for another diocese, etc., or getting a job and repaying loans. Other times,
I know/hope God will help me . . . .
“I’ve also pulled together enough mental shit — so to speak — to give excellent (but smug) answers to Msgr. Hughes when we discuss Mouch’s letter.”
But the cycle of abuse continues to this day at the Josephinum . . .
Fresno Diocese Settles Msgr. Pacheco Sexual Abuse Case for $750,000
Josephinum’s Pacheco Identified as Child Molester
Bishop Ryan Confirms Allegations of Pacheco Case
Joseph Pacheco: Former Josephinum Dean Exposed as a Child Predator
Two Americans Among New Cardinals
Pope Names Two Americans Among 24 New Cardinals
Church Abuse Scandals “Creeping Ever Closer” to Pope
Timothy Dolan Chosen as President of U.S. Bishops’ Group
Archbishop Dolan: Crowd-Pleaser and Defender of Faith
Next Time: Side Effects of the Josephinum Culture of Abuse