The Diocese of Jefferson City

A Case Study of Clergy Sexual Abuse

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Childproof 24: The Six Degrees of Separation in the Clergy Sexual Abuse Saga

Page 24

Dear Bishop Gaydos:

As with the actor, Kevin Bacon, six degrees of separation can be applied to St. Peter’s, Jefferson City:   Bishop Anthony J. O’Connell was ordained at the church, in 1963.  Native sons of the parish, who also are O’Connell’s former pupils and protégés, have been ordained here, too:, the Rev. Donald J. Antweiler, pastor, St. Thomas the Apostle, St. Thomas, ordained 26 May 1973; and Msgr. Michael J. Wilbers, episcopal vicar (and former vicar general and rector of St. Joseph Cathedral), ordained 26 February 1972.

Others ordained at St. Peter and their years of ordination are: the Rev. Philip M. Moriarty, 1980; the Rev. John J. Schutty, 1983; the Rev. Joseph Hoi, 1984; and the Rev. Michael P. Murphy, 1989.  Priests who were ordained elsewhere but said their First Mass at St. Peter include Bishop Charles Koester, who was a St. Louis auxiliary; and the Rev. John Henderson.

St. Peters Jefferson City:  The Rev. James M. Smith

Rev. James M. Smith
Freshman 1984
STAS Class of 1987
The last assignment of the Rev. James M.
Smith was associate pastor of St. Peter’s
Church, Jefferson City (2003-2006).  We
understand he left his vocation suddenly.
The circumstances are murky, involving
a parish employee, whom, we are told,
he married in undue haste.

Father “Jamie,” who is a St. Thomas
graduate (Class of 1987), is an intriguing
creature: Uriah Heep in a clerical dress,
sycophant, narcissist. You only had to
read his on-line BLOG to sense his
personality and character at Portrait
of a Priest at
(now defunct).

As associate pastor of St. Peter’s, Father Jamie went out of his
way to defend two priests publicly identified as child predators:
the Rev. John Schutty
and the Rev. Louis E. Dorn.  According to Smith, even publicizing the diocese’s preliminary action against the two clergymen is a disservice to the two priests accused of wrong-doing.  (Dorn, later, was exonerated after an intensive effort to convince the victim to recant, but the extent of his innocence remains in doubt.)
Today the Rev. James M. Smith
appears to be a Muscular
Christian, based on his In Hoc
Signo Vinces
tattoo.  On the
other hand, he may be a Mason
or just another Knights Templar
enthusiast who likes to wear
leather and ride a Harley. 
People do not have ‘the right’ to know
that a priest is removed.” he told the Associated Press in 2003. “If an accusation against a priest is proven, then steps will
be taken to make sure that if there are other victims, those victims will be found and helped as much as we are able.”

It’s nobody’s business,” he insisted.
“There is a way this is handled in the diocese.”

Smith was just as sanctimonious in electronic correspondence with a clergy
abuse victim regarding this matter,
dated Tuesday, 25 April 2006, 7:26 a.m.:

“The rule for removing a priest is that
if a priest has an accusation against him,
he is removed while the accusation is being investigated for credibility. The accusation is investigated by civil, not church, authorities. The accusations made against Fr. Schutte [sic] and
Fr. Dorn have not been proven credible yet, but these priests are already guilty in the minds of those who are listening to the rumors and gossip about them.  Guilty until proven innocent.

O’Connell recorded the 1983 clergy initiation ceremonies for the diocese.  Of the
six candidates identified here, three were dismissed after they were ordained for
the priesthood as a result of the clergy sexual abuse scandal:  John Schutty,
Steven Faletti, and Kevin Clohessy.  Source:  The Anchor, 1983, p. 105.

“If an accusation has merit, then the priest is put on permanent leave and the process of laicization is begun. If it does not have merit, he is returned to service.

Now, here’s the problem. If the bishop removes a priest because an uninvestigated accusation has been made, and makes public that the priest has been removed because of an accusation, he ruins the priest’s reputation and makes it impossible for him to return to service, precisely  because in people’s minds, we are guilty until proven innocent. If the accusation has merit, then the bishop has committed the sin of detraction by publicizing
the sin of another.

“The fact is, those spreading rumors are guilty of the sin of gossip and detraction. These priests may be innocent, but they’ll never be able to return to service now because the gossip has ruined their reputations.

“People do not have “the right” to know that a priest is removed. If an accusation against a priest is proven, then steps will be taken to make sure that if there are other victims, those victims will be found and  helped as much as we are able.

“As always, if you want to talk, I am available. Let me know.

“In Christ,
“Fr. Jamie
In a follow-up e-mail communiqué with the clergy abuse victim, dated Wednesday, 26 April 2006, 2:41 p.m., Smith revealed himself as self-righteous, caustic critic:

O’Connell’s record of this class photo of acolytes, lectors, and deacons includes
three candidates in the front row who removed from the priesthood due to sexual
misconduct involving children:  Kevin Clohessy (third from right); Steven Faletti
(second from right); and John Schutty (far right).  Also in the photograph are
the Rev. Manus P. Daly (back row, fourth from left) next to Bishop Michael F.
McAuliffe and the Rev. David G. Buescher (back row, second from right).
Msgr. David Cox stands in front of Daly.  Source:  The Anchor, 1983, p. 105.

“[A reporter] contacted me from the Associated Press in Columbia, telling me he had received an email in which I address questions concerning Frs. Lou Dorn and John Schutte [sic].

“The emails I wrote to you were meant for private correspondence because I thought you were asking for guidance, making statements that you were lost. I was trying to help you as a friend.

“You question whether we can trust the hierarchy. I trusted you.

“Now I see I can’t. You took the trust I placed in you in communicating with you in a way that seemed the most comfortable for you, and used it for your own purpose. I will not be corresponding with you by email anymore. If you ever wish to communicate with me again, it will only be through conversation.

“I will continue to pray for you, because you are obviously lost. You took the trust of someone who only wanted to be your friend and abused it.

“In Christ,
“Fr. Jamie

To compensate for the scandal, Father Smith, with the support of his boss, the Rev. Donald W. Lammers, conducted a “holy hour” observance on Sunday, 7 May 2006, to pray for the priests of the diocese who, according to the parish bulletin, “need support as they face the many challenges presented by our culture and the media.”

Are children so expendable that we cannot say a little prayer for them?

The arrogance is appalling.

The “people” do have the right to know when someone is an alleged sexual predator. People also have the right to know the employment history of pedophile priests so that other victims can come forward with the knowledge that they are not sole survivors and they will be safe and protected throughout the investigative process.

The Rev. Brian Driscoll
Rev. Brian J. Driscoll
A second priest, Brian J. Driscoll, former vocation director, dropped off the diocesan radar for six months following a bungled attempt by Gaydos to pay hush money to an O’Connell victim.  He re-emerged, married to a woman who, we are told, was in his catechumen class.

Driscoll, apparently, resigned, 2004, with
no reason stated.  He is the sixth priest,
and former vocation director, who left
the priesthood in the wake of O’Connell-
St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary scandal.

We would like to know the circumstances of his resignation in light of his role as the bag man assigned to silence O’Connell victims with hush money.  We would like to know the income source that allowed him to build a new house in California, Mo., shortly after his resignation; and now, apparently, resides in one of the more affluent section Jefferson City. 

When Father Driscoll disappeared from his job as vocation director for the diocese in 2006, we were able to address the sadness and concern of Brian’s parents, John and Mary Driscoll.  Mrs. Driscoll was distraught for lack of information about her son’s whereabouts.  When his son returned to Jefferson City with a new wife, living in an apartment near St. Joseph Cathedral, she was saddened by her son’s refusal to her or his father.

John Driscoll
John Driscoll, who died 8 April 2011, was equally disturbed by his son’s actions and behavior.  Mr. Driscoll was concerned, particularly, with his son’s safety.  Bishop Gaydos and Msgr. Higley refused to intercede for the parents or make any attempt to reconcile the trauma inflicted on this family.

Mr. Driscoll was disconsolate two years later. 
In an e-mail message to me, dated Friday,
10 October 2008, 6:11 p.m., Mr. Driscoll wrote:

“To this day both my wife and I say that Bishop O’C abused [my son].  He did leave the priesthood and married, but we still feel that he was abused.  We wrote to O’C and he just answered with [with a letter stating] ‘what a wonderful boy’ Brian was . . . . I still get nauseous 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.”

And I replied to Mr. Driscoll:

Rev. Mr. Brian J. Driscoll
I had a long conversation earlier this year with the Abbott [Stanislaus Gumula] at Mepkin.  Come to the Stable was soliciting support.  The Abbott was less than cordial; he barely concealed his contempt for the Foundation throughout our teleconference.  But I did find out that O'Connell is living alone in the [Henry and Clare Boothe] Luce mansion on the grounds of the abbey.”

What a terrible price for any parent to
pay.  Mr. Driscoll was 82 when he died.

He is the same age as my mother.  And
as I have stated before, neither you nor
Bishop O’Connell have condescended
to apologize to her.


Sidebar:  Mepkin Abbey and Clare Boothe Luce
An interesting note about Mepkin Abbey and Clare Boothe Luce – who deeded the property to the Trappists – appears in the new biography:  “Storyteller: The Life of Roald Dahl,” by Donald Sturrock.

  Clare Booth Luce
In early 1940’s Dahl was commissioned by the British government to promote interests the war effort of the United Kingdom in the United States and counter Nazi propaganda.  He was asked to convert the opinion of Clare Booth Luce, the wife of the owner of Time and Life magazines, and member of Congress.

According the biography, Mrs. Luce, a reluctant Anglophile, quickly succumbed to the allure of the glamorous young air attaché.

Supported by the British embassy in Washington, D.C., Dahl romanced Mrs. Luce successfully. As their affair progressed, Dahl confided to his mother that he was “working very hard” on the congresswoman:  “I hope to be able to make her change her views a little, and say something better next time she speaks [in the U.S. House of Representatives].”

This “assignment” may have proved too much for Dahl. According to the biographer, Dahl told Lord Halifax, then the British Ambassador in Washington, he was “all f----- out” because Mrs. Luce “had screwed [him] from one end of the room to the other for three goddam nights”.  Others have dismissed this story as a “wild flight of fancy,” according to some witnesses to this event.  For Dahl, its very improbability made the tale hilariously funny.


The Rev. Eugene Speichinger
The Rev. Eugene Speichinger (left) and
Bishop Michael F. McAuliffe in Peru.
Source:  The Anchor, 1982, p. 99.
We can only wonder at the future involving Brian Driscoll and Jamie Smith. You and Bishop Anthony J. O’Connell generated so much turmoil in their lives. Time may not salve the damage you have inflicted on their lives.

But a role model they may want to emulate Paul Eugene Speichinger (1934-2009).

Mr. Speichinger, a graduate
of Conception Seminary, was
ordained in 1965, two years
after O’Connell.  
He was assigned as a chaplain to St. Francis Hospital, Marceline; and, then, as an associate pastor to
St. Peter’s, Jefferson City.  Thereafter he was affiliated with the Peru mission program, working in Capachica as a pastor and rural community developer for 12 years.  As director of an international, ecumenical mission, Mr. Speichinger worked on the construction of schools, roads, irrigation systems, electrical and mechanical installations, bridges, and management of a 5,500-acre community cooperative agricultural project.

Mr. Speichinger received a formal dispensation from the Roman Catholic Church on May 22, 1973.  He married Gillian “Leigh” Gates on July 25, 1973, whom he met during her work as a nurse and midwife with the Public Health Department of Puno, Peru. They continued to work in Capachica
until 1976 when they returned to the United States to settle in Columbia.  Mr. Speichinger was employed by the Missouri Depart of Economic Development and together, the couple raised their four daughters.

Gene Speichinger maintained his reputation without tarnish.

McAuliffe and the Good Priest
Rev. Frank Stangl

The Rev. Frank Stangl (b. 16 May 16 1928;
d. 2 February 2008) may serve as a reserve
model for Driscoll and Smith.   In 1956 he
was assigned to St. Peter’s, Jefferson City,
when the diocese was established.

Later in his career, Stangl would run afoul of McAuliffe, and decide to leave the country
rather than the priesthood.  For many years,
Stangl lived in Germany, returning to the
United States in recent years to enjoy
retirement.  Sources indicate that he shared
the later portion of his life with a woman he
met in Germany.

Stangl, a native of St. Louis, was ordained a priest in Rome on
19 December 1953.  As a priest, he served in the Diocese of Jefferson City and in the United States Army.  When he returned to the U.S. in 1996, he was able relocated to the Diocese of Raleigh rather than return to McAuliffe’s organization.

One cause of Stangl’s problem in Jefferson City was that McAuliffe was an anti-intellectual bully, only interested in the balance sheet and cash reserves to meet his personal needs.  His irritation with Stangl is not unique.  He forced another priest in diocese who taught at the University of Missouri-Columbia to give up a Fulbright Scholarship.  Although this priest lived with McAuliffe for many years, the decision to kill his academic career carved an unsurpassable breach in their relationship that would never heal.

Stangl was involved with Catholic education all his life.  As a child,
he attended Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School in St. Louis.  He received his doctorate in sacred theology from the Gregorian University in Rome.  He taught religion courses at the University of Missouri for 22 years until McAuliffe concocted a similar loyalty test.  Stangl refused to acquiesce to McAuliffe’s demand.

His mission was to teach the Faith, especially wishing to show the truth of the gospel in God’s Word.  Wherever he went, he taught Bible studies, where so many were able to learn from him.  He was always teaching, preaching the gospel, and performing these duties in ways that showed us his love for Jesus Christ.

Second Thoughts:  The Rev. Louis E. Dorn
In 2006, Dorn implicated in a sexual misconduct scandal, only to have the alleged victim recant.

Nonetheless, it is known in clergy circles that this priest has engaged in questionable behavior before this particular matter surfaced.  A St. Thomas graduate and O’Connell survivor who was ordained for the diocese has provided this testimony: “Some years ago . . . [he got into trouble] at the rectory of St. Peter’s [Jefferson City] . . . . [Msgr.] Mike Wilbers – then VG [vicar general and St. Thomas graduate/1964] – was aware of it and said that the bishop [McAuliffe] was handling it.” 

OConnell recorded the Rev. Louis E. Dorn at St. Thomas with Bishop
Michael F. McAuliffe and on other occasions.  Source:  The Anchor
(clockwise), 1982, p. 22; 1981, p. 7; and 1982, p. 25.
“That’s all I know about that,” he says. “Too bad I trusted them back then to take care of things.”

And this coda: “I am not surprised by [the Rev.] John Schutty. He always gave me the creeps.”

A second incident occurred when Dorn was assigned to St. Peter’s, Fulton.

Among the assignments in Dorn’s employment history turned up two appointments: pastor, St. Peter’s, Fulton; pastor, St. Peter’s, Marshall, where his associate pastors were the Rev. Alex Luetkemeyer, OSB (1990-1993); the Rev.  Erwin Konrad (1992-present); the Rev. Gregory Oligschlaeger (1993-1996), who is a St. Thomas graduate and faculty member.  Dorn was a member of the board of directors of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions at the time this new scandal broke.  He is no longer a member of the commission.

In 2010, Dorn, amazingly, was named head of the diocesan Mediation and Arbitration Board.

Gaydos and his management team have attempted to establish a secret and separate justice system as in the case of the Rev. Dorn, who is a former pastor of St. Peter’s (1992-1994), Jefferson City.

Dorn’s immediate predecessor was the Rev. John H. Fischer (1985-1992), who is a known child molester. In March 2009, a priest with the diocese exposed Fischer again for a crime committed during his tenure.

A third priest, the Rev. Gary Pool, who was an associate pastor serving St. Peter’s (1985-1987) during Fischer’s tenure was, was forced from the priesthood due to child molestation offenses. Pool was identified in a civil suit filed in 2003. 
The diocese should make public a complete assignment history of these priests.

No information about Schutty’s parish placements is available, although we know that he was ordained at St. Peter’s, Jefferson City.  Interestingly enough, O’Connell was ordained there in 1963.

Rev. Hugh Behan’s Golden Parachute
We find it curious that the Rev. Hugh F. Behan is still on the Jefferson City payroll.  According to the 2010 Diocesan Directory he is considered “Inactive/On Leave,” but, surely, this must be an error.

Rev. Hugh F. Behan with his Mother and the Rev. Manus P. Daly.
Source:  The Anchor, 1976, p. 37

Of the six priests listed on leave in the 2002–2003 diocesan directory, three have been implicated in sex crimes: Hugh F. Behan, former editor of the Catholic Missourian; Manus P. Daly, former rector of St. Thomas Seminary; and Donald L. Wallace.  Behan, at last glance, still lives in Florida; Daly, reportedly, has retreated to County Donegal in Ireland; the whereabouts of Wallace are unknown.

One priest has been placed on leave following complaints about suspect behavior yet to be codified: the Rev. Eric A. Schlachter, who transferred from the archdiocese of St. Louis and was a year ahead of me at Kenrick Seminary.  Schlachter’s Leave of Absence dates to 1987.

At the time of Behan’s dismissal, he was being investigated by the Osage County Sheriff’s Department about a 1983 sexual case involving a 10-year-old girl, according to Sheriff Carl Fowler of Linn, Mo.  A second case involving an 18-year-old female in 1999 also was made public.

Behan is the former co-host of the “Pastor’s Study” at KRCG-TV, a
30-minute Sunday morning talk show (1986-1988).  The former editor of the Catholic Missourian is classic sexual predator: he feigns innocence, denies everything, and continues to pontificate. 

Behan’s correspondence is as troubling as it is revealing, and, we suspect, he was intoxicated when he composed these rants.  A look at his pensive  notations is helpful:

Behan: E-mail Message 1
Rev. Hugh F. Behan, 1967
“Sunday, 27 July 2008, 8:12 p.m. – Mr. Wegs: . . . . I was never accused of raping a minor  and  I never in fact ever did or attempted to. But of course TRUTH and CHARITY were never everyone’s motto as they were the late Bishop McA’s as you may know.  . . . . It is no wonder a writer in Commonweal asked if the  sex abuse “victims” had overstated their case and lost the moral high ground. “Two wrongs never make a right” our parents told us  . . . .

“On a personal note, I was surprised and shocked to learn that  your brother died earlier this year at such a young age. You and the family have my sympathy and will have my prayers for his soul and all of you.

“I recommend again that you read the Gospel with the core Christian Truth in mind, that FORGIVENESS and COMPASSION are either way toward healing, not the Old Testament “Lex Talionis” pursuing the accused and his line  all the way down the family tree.  That, Mr. Wegs is what hell is all about.  I continue to pray for peace for those actually abused, for contrition for the liars and for the guilty and falsely accused. The  so-called ‘cure’ was worse than the disease’ as I know the story from the inside of this tragedy.

“Peace to you and yours,  that is, Christ’s Peace that does not come from slander, calumny, lies, nailing everyone’s backside to the wall of shame, OR even the  exact honest Truth  but comes from JESUS the CHRIST on His terms which are not the world’s.  Be glad to chat if you so desire.  HFB”

Behan: E-mail Message 2
“Sunday, 27 July 2008, 8:42 p.m. – “We hold these treasures in clay pots” (11 Cor 4:7)

Behan: E-mail Message 3
Monday, 28 July 2008, 1:14 p.m. – Coincidentally, Mr. Wegs,  I had planned to chat with Manus today anyway,  just  forwarded our correspondence to him.  His home parish is my mother’s  original

Rev. Hugh F. Behan and Rev. Manus P. Daly.  Source:  The Anchor, 1977
family parish also, we met in seminary, had never known each other but he was very close to a cousin’s family as neighbors.  Our journey to JC diocese took very different paths. What was done to Manus was tragic. It is humanly unforgivable, but divinely manageable with Grace, it was irresponsible, reprehensible and a great loss to the Church of JC. Thank God Jesus knows the TRUTH about all of us,  and not SNAP or lawyers, or liars, bishops or the media or the Vatican  bureaucrats, even saintly Popes like the current and last several.

Just Jesus  knows so what else matters? HE GETS THE FACTS STRAIGHT and puts it all in perspective. Praise His holy Name now and forever. . . .  (Father)  HFB

Behan: E-mail Message 4
“Monday, 28 July 2008, 7:23 p.m. – We [Manus Daly] chatted tonight at  his bedtime. He has  not received anything from you per Greg [Higley] and does not wish to communicate with you, but he has my e-mails to and from you,  so he can write you  later should be  so desire.

Rev. Hugh F. Behan preached the homily at the 25th Ordination Anniversary Mass for the
Rev. Richard Kaiser, who was Bishop Anthony J. O’Connell’s predecessor at St. Thomas. 
Behan was Kaiser’s assistant at Blessed Sacrament, Hannibal. 
Source: The Anchor, 1969.

“I hope you will change the false data on your site about me.  Manus’ departure from JC was  a tragedy, the people of Marceline lost a very committed sincere beloved pastor whom they still mourn. There is a Divine Order and Justice system but what was done to him was humanly inexcusable, and irresponsible and hurt those who knew the man and his heart deeply.

“As for ‘O’C’ your site perpetuates sickness, trying to tie everyone in with him- how ludicrous  that I would need him, living four hours’ drive away to get a part-time position at WDW [Disney World, Orlando] which hires 35,000 folks in this area; that part-time post was I said was a filler until my first choice to use my talents opened up.

“There again the Church lost a very holy man who poured out his life for the Gospel; now  see how every good thing he did was twisted to make it look as if he were Evil Incarnate.  I often wonder how many millions of dollars and how much pain it would cost IF all the falsely accused priests and the ‘exaggerations’ and lies and other underhand tricks against those who were actually guilty,  given the actual reality/truth  what did or did not happen could be compensated and how many embarrassed and humiliated folks there would be out there.

“Who could account for all the Dirty Tricks, money, “I want fame too’ I really hated my daddy and mommy but the priest was a good target etc., etc., and  the exaggerated claims  ...well you know the  liars and others who sank to the lowest level of  human life who did and still do harm to the canon, civil law and Bill of Rights and reputations of countless clerics.

“I am NOT questioning those who  were really scarred or the very sick men and women who hurt them  but you may want to ask IF the bath water was so dirty no one really know where the baby was and  the whole tub was dumped out?    Was it worth it?  Were the real victims served well?

“Rhetorical questions, Mr. Wegs.  The simple Gospel answer found in the Beatitudes and commentary on them in Matthew 5-7, Luke 3-6  and all over the NT was a simple but difficult answer all along.
“Sadly for everyone involved,  our fallen human nature, that   Adam-Eve hubris, desire for revenge and other un-disciplined feelings won the day, inside and outside the “Church”  all around the world.  I pray you and those who back you in the questionable enterprise find the deep and lasting  PEACE that I fear you will not find by going about it the non-Jesus way.  - - FATHER  HFB

“P.S.  As my current e-mail Bible verse says (2 Cor 4:7):  We hold these treasures in CLAY POTS,  It seems that those who like to slash, jab, do some sleight of hand with facts and truth and  so destroy  all in their sites with their EIDs and emotional “nukes’ are free from Original Sin in their own eyes.  You might want to have a study on that with your financial backers and David [Clohessy] and  other folks  some time.  hf”

The Message
Behan’s communication, curiously, is similar to correspondence from other St. Thomas alumni and priests affiliated with the Diocese of Jefferson City.  Their rationale and inability to grasp the facts of the matter reflect a myopic understanding of the damage.  Would that they could see the truth for what it is.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Childproof 23: A History of Misplaced Trust in Jefferson City

Page 23

Editorial Update:  7 November 2011

Dear Bishop Gaydos:

Father O’Malley

When we think about the management of the diocese of Jefferson City, we should consider that split-second scene in the 1944 classic film, Going My Way.  Barry Fitzgerald (Father Fitzgibbon) is tabulating the parish’s cash accounts in his office when Bing Crosby (Father Chuck O’Malley) enters the room.  Crosby asks Fitzgerald for “half a dollar” to cover expenses related to a golf date.

Fitzgerald, skeptical about priests at play,
acquiesces only when Crosby says, “If I lose
it, I’ll swear off. I’ll quit.”

Father Fitzgibbon

As Crosby picks up a 50-cent coin from the pile of loose change, Fitzgerald advises the curate to drop the silver piece and take the cash from the second heap on the table:

“Take it out of the ladies’ sodality,” Fitzgerald admonishes. “They never keep any books.”

Graft, Greed and Bishop Michael F. McAuliffe
As we’ve seen with Anthony J. O’Connell’s rock
and roll endeavors
at St. Thomas – and the inability
of the Missouri bishops to deal with crime and cost
  relating to pedophile priests – graft and
seem to be common threads throughout the
financial management history of the Diocese of
Jefferson City.

In 1988, when O’Connell was name bishop of Knoxville, Tenn., for example, Bishop Michael F. McAuliffe raided the diocesan general fund to hand over $10,000 in cash to O’Connell.  According to one priest involved in the matter, O’Connell’s Kenrick Seminary classmates were asked to contribute $100 each for this “spiritual bouquet.”   No prayers for the newly created bishop:  just cash.

Bishop Anthony J. O’Connell (center) was a stone-broke Irish immigrant when he was
ordained with the Rev. Joseph Starmann (right) in 1963 for the Diocese
of Jefferson City.
But 25 years later he was able to command $10,000 in cash
from Bishop Michael F.
McAuliffe when he was promoted to be bishop of
Knoxville, Tenn. McAuliffe raided the
diocesan general fund to pay off
O’Connell as part of a protection scheme to protect
this pedophile priest
from the authorities. The diocese memorialized O’Connell’s
moment of
consecration in the St. Thomas yearbook. Bishop Gaydos, on the other
has punished Father Starmann personally and financially (e.g. slashing his
retirement benefits) for supporting O’Connell victims publicly and testifying

before the Missouri legislature; castigating his boss for his failure to investigate

the scandal, acknowledge the crimes per se; and harassing those who have

exposed the secret.  Source: The Anchor, 1982, p. 112.
“One of his closest admirers called me . . . and suggested that $1,000 would be more appropriate,” says this Jefferson City priest. “I told him I wouldn’t give ‘Dear Tony’ the sweat off my backside.”

Apparently McAuliffe did not understand the meaning of the Seventh Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Steal.

The Ten Commandments
illustrated in the 1675
Decalogue displayed
at the Amsterdam
Esnoga Synagogue.
But Bishop McAuliffe did understand the
value of a pay-off in exchange for silence
and secrecy, despite O’Connell’s trail of
bread crumbs published in the St. Thomas
yearbook, The Anchor.  Let’s not even
mention O’Connell’s dossier:  a file that
he controlled personally throughout his
17 years as a leading member of the
so-called Priest Personnel Board.

The level of financial support for O’Connell
at the time of his promotion as bishop of
Palm Beach, Fla., remains unknown. 
O’Connell, in turn, is a chancer, interested
only in monetary pursuit.

Forensics, Accountability, Truth
A forensic investigation of the accounting practices of the diocese of Jefferson City would tell an interesting story should the local stakeholders ever take an interest.An examination of the employment roster and assignment history of priests working for the diocese of Jefferson City would lead to even more questions about the circumstances of transfers, promotions, and status of ordained church workers. Neither, of course, will ever happen.

McAuliffe, like Gaydos, governed with an alpenstock rather than a
shepherd’s crook.

  Bishop James A. Wilkowski
But Bishop James Alan Wilkowski of the Evangelical Catholic Church has offered
a peek inside the back office. Wilkowski
was recruited to the diocese during Bishop O’Connell’s tenure as vocation director
and rector of St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary
in Hannibal. 

Despite his performance as a student at Kenrick Seminary, Wilkowski was dismissed two weeks before his ordination as a deacon after he reported to O’Connell and McAuliffe
that he had been subjected to sexual harassment
and sexual blackmail (as noted in previous postings).

The Rev. Brian Driscoll, who succeeded O’Connell
as vocation director, delivered the coup de grace.

“On October 31, 1988, I was summoned to Bishop McAuliffe’s office
of and notified that my allegations had caused ‘consternation within the internal forum of the diocese’ and my ordination was cancelled.
I was [ordered] to vacate the rectory at St. Brendan’s in Mexico within 24 hours. I was handed a check $250 for expenses, which I left on McAuliffe’s desk and walked out.”

Benedictine Monks:  Priory of St. Pius X
Vignettes such as Bishop Wilkowski’s are numerous.

When the Priory of St. Pius X in Pevely, Mo., was dissolved in 1983, Bishop McAuliffe invited the Benedictine monks to relocate to our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Columbia, Mo.  McAuliffe, who was a patron of the abbey’s motherhouse (Conception Abbey, near Kansas City, Mo.) hoped to offset the shortage of priests in the diocese.

The Priory of St. Pius X (1951-1983) was an interesting amalgam of religious and secular culture.  Although the monks purported to be spiritual in nature, it was not uncommon for them to venture to St. Louis for weekend pub crawls and to relieve other primal tensions.  The inmates were known to decamp to Kenrick Seminary and St. Louis night spots for cocktails and bar crawls.

Rev. Edwin J. Cole
The Rev. Edwin J. Cole served as prior (1977-1983) and helped engineer the transition to diocese of Jefferson City when the monastery was dissolved.  Prior to this venture, in the early 60s,
Cole was member of Skt. Knud’s Kloster, a monastic priory in
Copenhagen, Denmark.

To sweeten the deal and relocation to Our Lady of Lourdes in Columbia, McAuliffe ponied up approximately $280,000 to renovate the church.  The Benedictines, accordingly, agreed to reimburse the bishop for expenses.

Unlike the nuns at Our Lady of Peace Monastery in Columbia, these pious Benedictines and McAuliffe had a falling out.  They reneged on their debt.  McAuliffe was unable to collect.  And the Columbia venture collapsed.

To recoup his losses, McAuliffe turned to the Parish of St. Pius X in Moberly and raided the St. Mary’s Cemetery Fund, which had a cash balance of about $250,000.  City Bank and Trust Company of Moberly managed cemetery account.  Will Ben Sims, the president of the bank and a St. Mary’s Cemetery board member, opposed McAuliffe’s move.  The bishop side-stepped the issue, citing his power as head of diocese and seized the funds.

After this fiasco, Father Cole, apparently dissatisfied with the McAuliffe regime, sought assignments outside of the diocese.
Cole was appointed the first full-time associate pastor of St. Anselm Parish (1989-1991), St. Louis, which is affiliated with the Abbey of St. Mary and St. Louis (The Priory).  He then was employed by The Priory and worked was a hospital chaplain in St. Charles, Mo.  In 1994, he returned to work at Sacred Heart Church in Columbia until 2004. His last assignment was the Shrine of St. Patrick in Laurie, Mo.

Bishop McAuliffe:  Fiduciary Rogue
Just as McAuliffe raided City Bank to seize the St. Mary’s Cemetery Fund, he also raided the cash account of a wealthy parish south of Jefferson City.

The pastor at the time was among the few who still had sole signing privileges on individual parish accounts.

Bishop McAuliffe raided the cemetery account of the Parish of St. Pius X
held in trust at City Bank of Moberly (circa. 1988).

According to this clergyman, McAuliffe arrived unannounced one day at his rectory.  After a perfunctory greeting, McAuliffe told the pastor to get the parish check book and accompany him to the office of a Lake of the Ozarks realtor.  The pastor, at McAuliffe’s behest, wrote a check for $500,000 for a lakefront home.  The transaction complete, McAuliffe told the priest that he wanted a quiet retirement home after he left the chancery.  A secondary source, another diocesan priest, confirms this scenario.

Given this set of circumstances, a review McAuliffe’s bookkeeping technique and personal benefits package, even at this late date, would prove interesting.  Bishops are classified as corporate executives by the insurance markets.  It is not uncommon for a bishop to have multiple life insurance policies ranging from the mid-six to the low seven-figures, based on the size of the diocese.  These policies may or may not revert to diocese when they mature.  Typically they do not, and the bishop retires to a life of luxury when the policy matures.  The recipient of such a legacy would be one lucky fellow.

Bishop McAuliffe: Pay-Out 2 
A Kansas City, Mo., grand jury
indicted Bishop Robert W.Finn
on 14 October 2011 for failure
to report child molestation
by a priest in his employ.
His attorney reached a plea
agreement to limit Finn’s
punishment to monthly
consultations with the
district attorney.
As with Bishop Robert W. Finn’s protection of pedophile priest in Kansas City, Mo., McAuliffe’s history of protecting predatory priests is well-documented.  A particularly heinous crime involved an ordained sexual predator affiliated with St. Joseph’s Church in Salisbury.  This priest was implicated in the molestation of a married woman.  This crime occurred in the early 1980s.

The woman sought out the priest for spiritual counseling.  Her husband was
a church mouse, active in the parish, devoted to the Roman Catholic cause.

The priest was an O’Connell recruit.  His
parents were well-off and had a vacation
home at the Lake of the Ozarks.  In 1972,
his family turned over the property for a
summer priest-seminarian party.  One of
the seminarians at the event nearly severed
the index finger of another when they used
a hunting knife to cut a tow rope caught in
the propeller of a motor boat.  Alcohol played
a role in this disaster.

The Salisbury couple approached McAuliffe for support after
the attack.  McAuliffe offered sanctimonious assurances that
the matter would be rectified.  Initially, McAuliffe refused to
pay damages for medical costs and recovery.  Attempting
dexterity and prudence, McAuliffe concocted a modest,
conciliatory offer.  By the conclusion of the case, he was
forced to make a financial settlement in the $228,000.

The priest escaped financial punishment and imprisonment.

St. Joseph, Salisbury:  Scandalfest Haven
The front page of the 24 May 1908
issue of the Los Angeles Times
recorded the stabbing of the
Rev. Joseph F. Lubeley, pastor
of St. Joseph, Salisbury, by a
wealthy parishioner named
Joseph Schuette. The New
York Times
also documented
the crime for its readers.
St. Joseph Church in Salisbury, like
St. Peter’s in Jefferson City, seems
to be one of the choice parishes for
problem priests.

For example, the Rev. Frank Westhoff
and the Rev. Donald L. Wallace are former pastors and/or associates.  The Rev. Patrick Dolan and the Rev. Bill Korte, who have not been implicated in scandal, have been assigned to St. Joseph as well.

Skullduggery seems to be embedded in
St. Joseph’s at least as far back as the start of the 20th Century.

According the 25 May 1908 edition of
the New York Times, the Rev. Joseph F.
Lubeley was attacked and stabbed twice
by a wealthy parishioner, Joseph Schuette.

His wounds are probably fatal, one blow of
the knife
striking him in the temple and
another in the throat, narrowly missing
the jugular vein.  Lubeley and Schuette
had been good friends.  Lubeley survived
the attack.

The Los Angeles Times portrayed the story with this series of headlines:  Madman at the Altar, Priest’s Throat Cut by Lunatic, Wealthy Parishioner Stabs Celebrant in Crowded Church, Victim Pleads for Assailant While Lying at Point of Death.

St. Joseph, Salisbury:  Rev. William D. Debo
Rev. William D. Debo
In late August/early September 2003, the Rev. William D. Debo was confronted with a set of unsavory circumstances that led to his transfer to St. George Church, Hermann, Mo., from
St. Joseph in Salisbury.

The Debo matter created a great deal of
chaos and fear among the parishioners.

In 2004, a number of well-placed St. Joseph
parishioners confirmed the details of the
situation:  David S., who is a certified public
accountant profession and church organist
by avocation; and Rose M., a parish employee.
Both church members also offered a referral
source:  a respected community and parish
leader, who is a largescale farmer in Chariton
County.  Former Missouri state representative,
Therese A. Sander (R-Moberly), is privy to
this information.

In addition, a representative of the Mid-Missouri chapter of Voice of the Faithful offered this assessment in June 2004:

Last year, our group heard about the troubles in Salisbury, as some of their members contacted [us] .  .  .  .  We talked about inviting them to a meeting to talk about their concerns, but there wasn't much follow-up [from the Salisbury parishioners].”

Unfortunately, those knowledgeable about the circumstances continue to demur.  Debo’s career, on the other hand, seems to have survived this eclipse despite the havoc his actions inflicted on the Salisbury church.

Father Debo is a St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary graduate,  Class of 1986.  Circa 1990, his assignment status was classified as: Leave of Absence and On Duty Outside the Diocese.  Prior to St. Joseph’s , Debo was assigned to Risen Savior Church, Rhineland, and Our Lady of Sorrows, Starkenberg.  (One of Debo’s Kenrick Seminary friends and classmates is the notorious pedophile priest, Bryan Kuchar.  Kuchar was defrocked by the Vatican in 2006 despite the objects of his boss who now Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York.)

We would like to know more about the circumstance regarding these job transfers and approved leaves.

St. Joseph, Salisbury:  The Rev. Timothy M. Tatro
St. Joseph Church, Salisbury, Mo.
The Rev. Timothy M. Tatro, associate
pastor (2002-2003) at  Immaculate
Conception, Jefferson City, replaced
Father Debo at St. Joseph’s, Salisbury.   St. Joseph’s was his one and only
assignment as a pastor.  In Jefferson
City, he shared the Immaculate
Conception rectory with Msgr.
Gregory L. Higley.

Tatro’s Salisbury assignment lasted
less than one week due behavior
and actions that caused as much as
consternation among the parishioners
as Debo’s did.  Tatro received an
immediate leave of absence in 2003.
His status remains unchanged.

We understand that Tatro, a former Christian Brother and Helias High School faculty member, is the protégé of Msgr. Greg Higley.  Higley, in fact, sponsored his candidacy for ordination in 1999 and managed his career until the Salisbury catastrophe.

We would like to know the particulars of the Tatro case as well.  Former chancellor, Sr. Ethel Marie Birie (known as Sister Mary Godzilla among the clergy), and Msgr. Higley engaged the Salisbury congregation with a story about Tatro’s dislike for the country life as the reason that he failed his five-day assignment.  This rationale was hardly plausible is 2003.  It cannot be true in 2012.

Father Tatro’s current whereabouts are not known to the public; although he remains on the diocesan payroll.

Missouri Bishops Target Organization Representing Survivors of Predatory Priests
Bishops Launch SLAPP Suit Strategy to Break SNAP and Silence Victims
SNAP Director David Clohessy Subpoenaed in Kansas City Pedophile Priest Case
Fishing Expedtion:  Bishops Demand 23 Years of Internal Documents and Records
Missouri Bishops Subpoena Second SNAP Leader in Pedophile Priest Case
Victim’s Group Refuses to Turn Over Names in Missouri Clergy Molestation Cases
Breaking SNAP: David Clohessy Could Face Jail Time for Contempt of Court
Bishop Robert Carlson Files SLAPP Suit to Gain Access to Victim’s Private Records
Bishop Gabino Zavala of Los Angeles Resigns; Acknowledges Wife and Two Children
Walter Mixa, German Bishop and Ally of Pope Faces New Child Abuse Allegations
Maria Jepsen, First Woman Lutheran Bishop, Resigns Over Abuse Case

Next Time:  A History of Misplaced Trust in Jefferson City Continues