St. Louis Priest Charged with Having Sexual Contact with Boy at School
By Susan Weich
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
April 17, 2014
|The Rev. Xiu Hui “Joseph” Jiang|
New criminal sexual abuse allegations arose Friday against a St. Louis priest with close ties to Archbishop Robert Carlson.
Prosecutors charged the Rev. Xiu Hui “Joseph” Jiang, 31, of the 3400 block of Lafayette Avenue in St. Louis, with two felony counts of first-degree statutory sodomy involving a boy younger than 14.
Jiang was previously accused of having improper contact with a teenage girl from Lincoln County, though those charges were later dismissed.
The latest charges allege that Jiang had sexual contact with a student at the St. Louis Cathedral School in the 4400 block of Maryland Avenue, police said in court documents. The boy told detectives and a forensic interviewer that Jiang had sexual contact with the boy two different times in a school bathroom between July 1, 2011, and Aug. 1, 2012.
The archdiocese said in a statement issued Friday that the new allegation was reported through the Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline by a family who over the past year has been pursuing a claim against the archdiocese related to their child being bullied by other students.
“The family had never claimed that their child was abused by a priest until this week,” the statement said. “Fr. Jiang voluntarily surrendered yesterday at the request of police pending a decision whether charges are going to be brought.”
The archdiocese also said Jiang was suspended from his duties while authorities investigate the charges.
“The message is if you report abuse we’ll make it as hard as possible for you,” said David Clohessy, executive director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.
“They desperately want to prevent embarrassing lawsuits... they know that one good way to ensure silence is to quickly and publicly question the honesty of those who speak up.”
The charges in the Lincoln County case were dismissed in November. The accuser in that case and her family attended the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, where Jiang was associate pastor. The charges of child endangerment and witness tampering — Jiang had been accused of leaving a $20,000 check for the family as hush money — were dismissed without comment from Prosecutor Leah Askey.
Jiang has been closely tied to Carlson since Jiang came to the United States as a young seminarian from China in 2006. As part of the criminal case, Carlson was questioned in a deposition.
The family of the Lincoln County teen also filed a civil suit against Carlson and the archdiocese. That case is still pending.
The family is “saddened by the fact that there’s another child who has been harmed” by Jiang, said Ken Chackes, the attorney representing the family in the suit.
“And they fear there may be others. They also were disappointed to see that the archdiocese immediately questioned the credibility and motivation of the other family,” said Chackes.
Chackes said the Lincoln County teen was doing “relatively well” now, though the family no longer attends church at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.
Since the dismissal of the Lincoln County case, Jiang has been translating the autobiography of St. Therese the Little Flower into Chinese, said Bill Hannegan, a friend of the priest’s.
Hannegan’s wife, Lucy, heads a group of Jiang’s supporters, Friends of Fr. Joseph, and said Friday that she does not believe the allegations.
“We stand behind him 100 percent,” she said. “We do not believe any of these charges.”
Joel Currier and Lilly Fowler of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.
Susan Weich is a reporter at the Post-Dispatch. Follow her on Twitter or Facebook.