The Diocese of Jefferson City

A Case Study of Clergy Sexual Abuse

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Childproof 57: Capping a 25-Year Struggle, David Clohessy Finally Makes Bishop Gaydos Cry “Uncle”


 

Page 57

 
Dear Bishop Gaydos:

We were more than pleased to learn September 4 that you would reimburse the survivor of a pedophile priest a meager portion of the medical expenses accrued over a period of nearly 25 years.
Even more important, we discovered that the survivor also wrangled
an acknowledgment from your pen that the childhood sexual molestation allegations may, in fact, be true.
 
Undoubtedly you believe that you are making amends for the victimization of a child entrusted to the care of one of your employees.  Unfortunately this is not the case.

You have devoted 18-year tenure as member of Roman Catholic hierarchy to browbeating each and every victim of a pedophile priest who has brought the crime to your attention.  In addition, you have made any number forays to prevent the disclosure of child molestation by priests working for the Diocese of Jefferson City.  For example:


§       In 1999, you admitted to the media that you
orchestrated the cover-up Bishop Anthony J.
O’Connell’s sex crimes at St. Thomas Aquinas
Seminary in Hannibal so that O’Connell could
be promoted as bishop of the Diocese of Palm
Beach, Fla
.
 
§    You then compared O’Connell’s victims to
gangrene in a November 2002 opinion piece
published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  You
recommended that the diseased flesh should
be cut away from the healthy, using a painful
medical procedure called debriding
.

§    You  remained silent about the 2010 stealth
campaign to bankrupt a Jefferson City artisan
blacksmith who helped establish a local chapter
of the Survivors Network of those Abused by
Priests (SNAP).  The scale of cancelled contracts
and commissions nearly force the business owner
to close shop
.

§     In May 2013, you directed your staff threatened
those attending a press conference at the Cathedral
of St. Joseph with criminal trespass and arrest.

Their crime:  announcing the results of a study
about the Jefferson City clergy molestation
scandal entitled
Thy Child’s Face
.

§    And, Bishop Gaydos, you continue to rebuff
O’Connell victims request for medical
reimbursement support. 

The father of one victim continues to do battle
for his son, and has lost his standing as an
ordained deacon of the church.  A second victim,
who is one of my classmates at St. Thomas, is
homeless in Las Vegas. 

Five O’Connell victims receive full disability
support from the Federal Government:  
for some their situation is critical — a
subsistence livelihood due to so many
years of being unable to work.

Our report has compiled and documented the stories of scores of these victimized children.  A partial tally, alone, details 54 cases of children harmed by predatory priests:  O’Connell, 16; John J. Whiteley, 6; John H. Fischer, 2; Manus P. Daly, 2; David G. Buescher, 2; Gary W. Pool, 2; Robert G. Scobee, 1; Kevin Clohessy, 2; Frank D. Westhoff; 3; Gerald J. Howard/Carmine Sita, 3; James P. McNally, 1; James J. Mahon, 3; Donald L. Wallace, 1; Stephen L. Faletti, 1; Hugh F. Behan, 2; Msgr. Charles H. Patterson, 1; John B. DeAngelis, 1; Thomas Seifner, 1; John Degnan, 1; John J. Schutty, 1; and Sean Smythe, 1. 

You have not denied the findings of Thy Child’s Face.  In fact, your only comment has been that the pedophile priests whom we have identified either are retired or deceased and no longer a threat to children.

You have not denied the findings of Thy Child’s Face.  In fact, your only comment has been that the pedophile priests whom we have identified either are retired or deceased and no longer a threat to children.

Bishop Gaydos, you deserve no plaudit for this feeble mea culpa.  Your decision is a flimsy public relations venture in anticipation Pope Francis’ visit to the United State.

But the man who wrested your latest admission of deceit  David Clohessy deserves three hurrahs.

An icon among those addressing the victimization of children by members of clergy, Clohessy has not wavered in what has become his life’s work as a co-founder of SNAP.  Clohessy and those who continue to battle the international cover-up and worldwide scandal remain strong despite the challenge of the monolithic organization they face.
 
But the man who wrested from you an admission of guilt – David Clohessy – deserves three hurrahs.
 
An icon among those addressing the victimization of children by members of clergy, Mr. Clohessy has not wavered in what has become his life’s work as a co-founder of SNAP.  Mr. Clohessy and those who continue to battle the international cover-up and worldwide scandal remain strong despite the challenge of the monolithic organization they face.

Mr. Clohessy forced you to the ground and, then, made you  “Uncle.”   And the total sum of us, again, cheer him on for that, because we know there’s nothing we can do about the past, but we always have today and the ability to hug those we love. 
 
The rest of us now wait for our apology. 

We wait for the Diocese of Jefferson City to open its books for all to see what has happened. 

We wait for Gaydos to practice true leadership:  the leadership of transparency and justice for all.