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Assignment History– Rev. Chester John "Chet" Warren, o.s.f.s.

Summary of Case: Chester John "Chet Warren" was ordained for the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales in 1957. He was on staff at a boys' high school in Philadelphia until 1960, when he was assigned to his order's monastery in Toledo, Ohio. From 1963 to 1974 Warren was an assistant priest at Toledo's St. Pius X parish and school. In 1974 he was transferred to a Taylor, Michigan parish in the Archdiocese of Detroit, then was returned in 1978 to the Oblates' headquarters in Toledo. Warren resided during at least 1986-1992 at the St. Francis de Sales High School faculty house, while working as a chaplain at St. Vincent Medical Center.

In 1985 a young woman, Barbara Blaine, reported to the Oblates and later to the diocese that Warren had sexually abused her from the time she was a 13-year-old 7th-grader in 1969 at St. Pius the X school, until she was a senior in high school. She said that the order told her that no one else had complained about Warren. In 1989 Blaine founded the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). After she named Warren publicly in 1992, two women contacted her to say that they, too, had been sexually abused by the priest as girls; both said they reported the abuse to Warren's superiors in the early 1970s. By 2002 at least eight women had come forward with similar allegations. In 2003 a woman said she was abused by Warren as a preschooler in the context of ritual abuse involving a group of priests. In a 2005 press conference a nun stated that she was raped by Warren at age 6.

Warren was allowed to stay in ministry until 1992, just before he was named as a perpetrator by Barbara Blaine on national television. (Blaine had informed the Oblates that she was going to name him.) He was suspended, and later dismissed by his order. He was not laicized.

In 2004 Warren was discovered by the Toledo SNAP leader to have been living with a retired schoolteacher who operated a tutoring service in her home, a service that was advertised in parish bulletins. The diocese subsequently sent a letter to its schools informing them of the situation. In 2005, as part of a settlement agreement, Toledo Bishop Blair publicly apologized to the plaintiff, to St. Pius X parishioners and to victims of abuse by clergy elsewhere in the diocese. He said of Warren, "...the allegations have proven to be true ." In 2006 Warren was barred by a judge from attending a parish Eucharistic chapel after families complained that he was showing up at all hours, sometimes in clerical garb, despite having been ordered to attend only at certain times.

Warren could not be prosecuted due to the statute of limitations on sex crimes against children.

Ordained
: 1957


 

Start Stop Assignments Town/Accusations State Position Notes

1957

Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Archbishop was John Francis O'Hara, C.S.C. (1951-1960).

1960 Father Judge High School for Boys Philadelphia PA  

Father Judge High School had 2,572-2,692 students.

 

1960

Diocese of Toledo

Bishop was George John Rehring (1950-1967).

1963 Brisson House of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales

Toledo

 

OH    

1963

Rehring was succeeded by John Anthony Donovan (1967-1980).

1974 St. Pius X

Toledo

In 1985 a woman, Barbara Blaine, reported to the Oblates and later to the diocese that Warren had sexually abused her beginning when she was age 13 in 1969, and ending when she was a senior in high school. She said Warren told her she was holier than the other kids, and that no one would believe her if she told. Warren also told her that what had happened was a mortal sin and, in order to receive communion, she had to go to confession, and that if she didn't go to communion people would grow suspicious. Barbara would ride her bike to other churches for confession after being molested.

After Blaine came forward publicly in 1992, two other women contacted her to say that Warren had abused them as girls, too. Both said they reported the abuse to his superiors in the early 1970s.

By 2002 at least eight women had alleged abuse as girls, ages 13-17, in the 1970s by Warren.

In June 2003 a 41-year-old woman told the diocesan review board that, beginning when she was a preschooler in the 1960s, Warren sexually abused her in the context of ritual abuse with a group of priests. She said that Warren arranged for other priests to sexually abuse her, including Rev. Gerald Robinson, who was convicted in 2006 of the 1980 murder of Sr. Margaret Ann Pahl.

In a 2005 press conference, a Notre Dame nun shared that Warren sexually abused her as child, remembering rape at age 6 and, at age 9, being given a cookie by him and told she was "a good girl" that day.

OH 2/2, 2/4, 2/3

St. Pius X had a school with 383-201 students, "Vacation School" until 1965 with 74 students, and "Instruction Classes" with 48-155 students.

Blaine said the order told her that no one else had complained about Warren, and they refused to remove him from ministry. A correspondence in 1970 between a girl and the Oblates' general superior indicates that the order knew then about Warren's sexual abuse of girls.

Blaine said she was told, too, by the order that Warren was being closely monitored. However, she said she received a call from a woman years later who told her that Warren abused her in 1990, after Barbara had come forward.

In 1989 Blaine founded the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). She died at age 61 in September 2017 after a sudden cardiac event.

1974

Archdiocese of Detroit

Archbishop was John Francis Deardon (1958-1980).

1978 St. Paschal Baylon's Taylor MI 2/2  

1978

Diocese of Toledo

Bishop was John Anthony Donovan (1967-1980), followed by James Robert Hoffman (1980-2003).

1992 Oblates of St. Francis de Sales Toledo OH   Warren resided at the St. Francis de Sales High School faculty house 1986-1992.
1985 1992 St. Vincent Medical Center Toledo OH chaplain

Warren is not indexed beyond the 1993 Directory.

Warren was placed on leave in September 1992, just before Barbara Blaine's story was mentioned on the Oprah Winfrey show. She had informed the Oblates that she was going to reveal Warren's name on air. He was dismissed from the order a year or two later and was barred from ministry in the diocese.

1992

Hoffman was succeeded as Toledo bishop by Leonard Paul Blair (2003-2013).

  Suspended from Ministry Toledo OH  

In 2005 Toledo Bishop Leonard Blair addressed parishioners of St. Pius X, apologizing to those in the parish and elsewhere in the diocese who had suffered abuse by clergy. He stated, further, "I am here to tell you that the allegations have proven to be true." Part of the statement was required by a settlement between the diocese and another Warren victim, Teresa Bombrys. Brombys said Warren sexually abused her when she was in fourth to seventh grades at St. Pius X school. She also alleged ritual abuse by a group of priests.

Warren went on to reside with an old friend, a retired schoolteacher who ran a private tutoring service. In 2000 he wrote a letter of recommendation regarding his friend's service, on stationary that said "From the Desk of Father Chet Warren." He wrote that he had, "observed her tutoring at home for many years." The service was advertised in church bulletins. In 2004 Toledo SNAP leader Claudia Vercelotti contacted the diocese and Children's Services regarding the situation. As a result, in 2005, the diocese sent a letter to its 30 schools that the tutor "...lives with or associates with a former priest who is a known child molester, and that the man is in the residence while tutoring is taking place."

In 2006 Warren was barred by a judge from visiting the Eucharistic Chapel at Blessed Sacrament parish after families expressed alarm that he was attending at all hours, in violation of an agreement that he visit the chapel only at specified times. Also, he would sometimes show up wearing clerical garb.

Warren could not be prosecuted due to the statute of limitations on sex crimes against children.

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Source: Official Catholic Directory (Kenedy & Sons, 1958-1993).

Believers Betrayed, by Michael D. Sallah and David Yonke, Toledo Blade, December 1, 2002
 Investigation Uncovers Numerous Cases of Sexual Abuse in Toledo Diocese, Toledo Blade,December 1, 2002
Toledo Native Barbara Blaine Crusades against Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church, by Bill Frogameni, Toledo City Paper, April 29-May 5, 2004
23 victims will receive $1.19 million from diocese, by David Yonke, Toledo Blade, August 21, 2004
Dark Allegations Arise amid Probe of Nun's Slaying, by Michael D. Sallah and Mitch Weiss, Toledo Blade, February 20, 2005
Bishop Apologizes for Priest's Actions, Letter Sent to St. Pius X, Where Parishioner Reported She Was Abused, Toledo Blade, March 4, 2005
 Bishop Offers Abuse Apology, by Robin Erb, Toledo Blade, March 14, 2005
Nun 'Called' to Support Reforms of Abuse Laws, by Robin Erb, Toledo Blade, November 9, 2005
Woman Credited for Events Leading to Gerald Robinson Trial, by Seamus McGraw, Court Television Network, April 27, 2006
Chet Warren, Defrocked Priest, May Still Have Had Access to Children, by Seamus McGraw, Court TV, May 3, 2006
Church Seeks to Bar Defrocked Priests Access to Chapel, by Seamus McGraw, Court TV, May 5, 2006
SNAP Founder Says Chet Warren Remains a Threat, by Seamus McGraw, Court TV, May 9, 2006
 Ex-Priest Agrees to Stay out of Parish, by Mark Reiter, Toledo Blade, August 29, 2006
 Ex-Priest is Allowed to Dodge Reporters, by Mark Reiter, Toledo Blade, September 1, 2006
A Rocky Road to Healing: Diocese Enacts New Policies, Programs, but Victims Demand More Accountability, Toledo Blade, July 15, 2007
 Sexual Abuse of Minors by Clergy, Diocesan Case Status, Diocese of Toledo, April 8, 2008
Catholic Church Sex Abuse Survivors Frustrated by Pope Francis" US Visit, Lack of Action, by Julia Glum, International Business Times, September 25, 2015
 Barbara Blaine, Founder of Sex Abuse Survivor Group SNAP, Dies, by Bill Frogameni, National Catholic Reporter, September 25, 2017 


Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Warren's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with the allegations against him, as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegations we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on November 12, 2017.


 
 

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