| Rev. Manus P. Daly|
space in the clergy abuse scandal timeline
and the harm sexual predators inflicted on children, young people, and vulnerable adults.
I say this because of my personal relationship
with the man.
The moment I learned the specifics of the
scandal that engulfed St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary is etched in memory. The phone
call. The New York Times pop-up on my
computer monitor with photographs of
Bishop Anthony J. O’Connell and Daly. The
first full disclosure of the secrets, subterfuge,
and cover-up of affliction that has affected
so many lives, exposed for all to see.
Daly was never perceived as a rogue priest or pederast by the students in his care. He was a rough-and-tumble creature, earthy, playful, direct: the St. Thomas version of Rubeus Hagrid, the Hogwarts’ gamekeeper of Harry Potter fame.
confidante to many and a spiritual director to a few: a guiding
force to be sure. He mended fences in broken friendships and
dysfunctional families. He demanded rigorous academic standards.
He instilled the concept of self-respect. He taught the value of
inner-strength and personal stamina to waylay difficult times.
Daly’s adult critics, on the other hand, considered the man boorish and a brute. As we have learned, they were appalled by his fraternization and physical interaction with students. They deplored the way he manhandled young boys, noting that he relished the rough treatment and body contact he orchestrated as public wrestling matches with particular individuals and that extended far beyond of the boundaries of Kabuki rough-housing.
O’Connell sanctioned Daly’s behavior. O’Connell also photographed Daly in these compromising situations for publication in the St. Thomas yearbook, The Anchor. Legitimizing Daly’s loutish behavior, O’Connell, as rector, lulled students and parents so that they accepted hooliganism as a mere Irish frolic.
Daly’s critics deplored the way he manhandled St. Thomas students.
Again, O’Connell’s St. Thomas yearbook photographs illustrate the public
scuffles that Daly orchestrated. Source: The Anchor, 1972, 1982.
You and McAuliffe allowed Daly to return to St. Thomas as respected elder and honorable educator, even though you were forced into a settlement and six-figure compensation package. You broadcast you seal of approval in The Voice, masking the hypocrisy in the student-alumni newsletter, while hoping to quell any curiosity as to Daly’s unexpected career move.
This tragedy is further compounded by the fact that Daly’s victim is not only a STAS alumnus, but he also was ordained and assigned to the faculty to work with Daly. In addition, you have acknowledged that Daly shared the victim with Anthony J. O’Connell and the Rev. John H. Fischer.
This aspect of the pedophile priest scandal is well-documented.
We know, for example, that the
Rev. Kevin Clohessy and the Rev. Gary Pool shared a victim at a Jefferson City parish, according to court documents and media reports. We also know that the Rev. Carmine Sita (known in the Jefferson City diocese as the Rev. Gerald Howard) shared
some of his victims with
In the Daly case, we have read
your expert’s evaluation. Using
a classic defense strategy, you attribute the crime to the family-of-origin concept. In other words,
you blamed the victim’s mother and father, you blamed the victim’s childhood environment, you blamed the victim’s youth and innocence. And, then, you ostracized the victim.
A bit of the Daly case is documented in the 1978 St. Thomas yearbook on page 83 of The Anchor. The caption for the photograph notes that Fischer, the third member of this predatory pack, was brought on board by O’Connell to direct the STAS choir and liturgical program. Fischer supervised their shared victim, who was chapel organist.
comprised child predators, a ratio of 42 percent. Throughout
O’Connell’s tenure as rector of St. Thomas that level remained
at one-third, or 33 percent, of the ordained faculty. O’Connell,
as a key member of the diocese’s Priest Personnel Board, was
able to hijack moral authority and keep like-minded comrades
close by his side.
Bishop Michael F. McAuliffe celebrated the Rev. Manus Daly's
35th ordination anniversary at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary
seven years after Daly was removed as rector due to sexually
assaulting students. Source: St. Thomas Voice, Summer, 2000.
the school into territories that could not be poached. As a result, my relationship with Daly remained above board. Other students were not as fortunate.
The purpose of this disclosure is related to an event that transpired early in our association. Daly agreed to be my spiritual director shortly after he arrived at St. Thomas as dean of students.
Our spiritual direction and guidance counseling sessions were routine and professional. The weekends spent at his cabin at the Lake of the Ozarks were carefree, a moment of escape from the doldrums of summers at home.
For nearly 25 years, O’Connell’s photography in the St. Thomas yearbook
promoted Daly’s coarse behavior as a mere Irish frolic. Source: The Anchor,
1973, 1980, 1981, 1982.
up in an encounter that has puzzled me for many years.
for his breach of social decorum and professional etiquette. He volunteered that he had received news earlier in the day of an 18-year-old boy he knew in Jefferson City: Gregory McClurg. Daly told me that the boy had been found dead in a car with his girlfriend, Dorleah K. Gosney, Independenc, Mo. The pair died of carbon monoxide poisoning, death by mishap, he said.
Daly confided that he and the boy had been exceptionally close. With bitter sorrow, he intimated a father-son relationship with the youth.
I mumbled a few artless words of comfort and sympathy, a moment of youthful naïveté. Daly slowly regained his composure, embarrassed by this breach of professionalism. He apologized, expressing his gratitude. Our conversation ended. I returned to my books and homework in study hall, with no further mention of Gregory McClurg, ever again.
The circumstances of Daly’s meltdown are suspect today given the extent of the pedophile priest scandal that has infested the Roman Catholic Church.
We offer the following letter, written by a St. Thomas youth who is now Msgr. Gregory L. Higley, your vicar general. He describes a situation involving another whom boy Daly entertained one weekend in 1972.
Upon reflection, this tale illustrates myth-making and hero worship of a sort. He is not the Irishman who taught us how to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps. He is not the rogue who offered up a a Gaelic curse or two, which some of us still use today. It would seem that Manus P. Daly is a man misunerstood; someone who does not understand that his name is his virtue.
He is as Duncan assessed the Thane of Cawdor:
He was a gentleman
13 February 1972 — My Eighteenth Birthday
a long time. I've been spending a lot of time
on homework and basketball games. I want
to just thank you for the birthday card you
sent me a month ago. Yours was the first I received from anyone. Thanks a lot.
of the most dear to me in all four years up here. Not the only but one of the most. It started Saturday morning. You remember [Dusty Anholt] – the guy that came down
to the lake while we were down there
during the summer. Well anyway, he went
to St. Louis with Fr. Dave [and] Daly Friday
nite to see [Jesus Christ,] Super Star.
talked for a while. Then for lunch Daly took us out to the Pizza Hut. We had a ball. [Dusty] came back and played basketball and pool for
a while with us until 3:00 p.m. Rev. Daly asked me to go down to Kingdom City with [Dusty] and him to meet his mom. It was a lot of fun.
on the way down. It was a nice trip except that
it was raining a little. [Dusty] drove part of the way and we got there about 6:00.
God, there wasn’t much traffic.
about next year and I enjoyed the drive and the company and the
talk. Most of the time when I’m
on the rode [sic] that long (four hours), I really get bored and
tired, but that nite I was very
happy going down to Jeff and
Daly this year and then he goes and does this. Anyway I guess by now you’re just bored to death do I’ll say just a few more things and cut off.
to go. I’m glad it’s all over now.
only ten of us here.
in it though.
| Msgr. Gregory L. Higley’s letter, dated 13 February 1972, describing|
the Rev. Manus Daly’s relationship with a young boy.
Next Time: Msgr. Louis Wellington McCorkle