Lawsuit Says St. Louis Archbishop Knew Priest Was Threat to Kids
By Tim Townsend
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
July 17, 2013
|Archbishop Robert J. Carlson conducts the Anointing of Hands rite on the Rev. Joseph Xiu Hui Jiang during a ceremony at the Cathedral Basilica in St. Louis to ordain eight men into the priesthood on May 29, 2010|
St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson knew that a priest was a danger to children before that priest was charged last year with molesting a teenage girl, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in Lincoln County.
The lawsuit was filed by the parents of the girl, who told police last June that the Rev. Xiu Hui “Joseph” Jiang, an associate pastor at the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica in the Central West End, had molested her. Jiang, 30, eventually was charged with first-degree endangering the welfare of a child. The girl had described him as a family friend.
In the lawsuit filed Friday, the girl’s parents said Carlson “knew that Father Jiang was dangerous to children” and “that allowing Father Jiang access to minors as part of his duties as a priest would result in Father Jiang harming minors.”
The suit does not provide details of how Carlson would have known Jiang was a threat to children.
According to the suit, the girl’s parents asked Carlson last year if Jiang, who was ordained in 2010, would be removed from the priesthood. Carlson responded “that he would remove Jiang if he ‘had sex’ with the child, but not for activities other than that,” according to the suit.
The lawsuit asks for damages but does not specify an amount.
In an email, Angela Shelton, community relations specialist for the archdiocese, said, “These new allegations against the Archdiocese of St. Louis and Archbishop Carlson are false and will be denied in an answer to the lawsuit filed in court.”
Jiang’s attorney, Paul D’Agrosa, did not return a call seeking comment.
In a statement last year, the archdiocese said Jiang was placed on administrative leave after officials learned about the allegations. It also said none of the alleged abuse had taken place at the Cathedral Basilica or on archdiocesan property.
But the lawsuit filed Friday alleges that while much of the abuse happened in the parents’ home in Lincoln County, a witness saw Jiang kissing the girl on the mouth and touching her inappropriately “in the parking lot of the church rectory.”
The archdiocese has said Jiang is a native of Shandong, China. In recent years, Jiang attended St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., according to the St. Louis Review, the archdiocese’s newspaper. He served his supervised ministry at St. John the Baptist Parish in St. Paul. According to the lawsuit, Jiang was a deacon in Saginaw, Mich., when Carlson was bishop there, before he moved to St. Louis.
Jiang met the 15-year-old girl in early 2010, just months before he was ordained. Carlson assigned him to the Cathedral Basilica, and Jian lived in a room at the archbishop’s residence, according to the suit.
The lawsuit claims Jiang first began visiting the girl’s house in early 2011, but he later resolved to stay away after her parents confronted him about being “too affectionate and too touchy” with their daughter.
By the following year, however, the priest returned to visiting the family home and began to “manipulate (the girl) into sexual contact,” the lawsuit says. When confronted again in June 2012, Jiang admitted his actions and, later that night, placed a check for $20,000 on the family car and sent a text message to the girl’s mother saying he left the money because of his “stupidity,” according to the suit. The parents turned over the check to police, the suit says.