Past Accusations against Priest Trouble Parents at His New St. Louis Parish
By Erin Heffernan
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
May 25, 2018
Xiu.jpg Rev. Xiu Hui "Joseph" Jiang, 31, leaves the Lincoln County Justice Center in Troy, Mo., on Wednesday, March 29, 2017, with his lawyers Ryann Carmody (left) and her father, Gerard Carmody. Jiang, 31, was on trial in a civil suit in related to sexual abuse of a 16-year-old girl. The jury sided with Jiang and the archdiocese. Photo by Laurie Skrivan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Parents at a St. Louis Catholic grade school are speaking out after learning a priest twice accused of misconduct involving children will be joining their parish.
The Rev. Xiu Hui “Joseph” Jiang was recently appointed associate pastor of St. Gabriel the Archangel Parish. The priest had been charged with statutory sodomy in St. Louis and child endangerment in a Lincoln County case, but charges in both were dropped several years ago. Jiang denied the allegations, and a jury sided with him last year in a civil suit tied to the Lincoln County case.
Jiang is set to begin work at St. Gabriel, which is in the St. Louis Hills neighborhood and includes a K-8 school.
Katie Schmitt, a parent of two St. Gabriel students and a graduate of the school herself, said she feels the Archdiocese of St. Louis has made the wrong decision both for the students’ safety and Jiang himself.
“While I’m extremely sorry if this man is completely innocent, I don’t want to gamble with my children’s lives,” Schmitt said.
She continued that Jiang would be better placed away from children and controversy after two previous high-profile accusations of misconduct.
In 2013, a Lincoln County family filed a civil suit accusing Jiang of molesting a 16-year-old girl both at her home and in the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica rectory parking lot. At the time, Jiang was an associate pastor at the parish. The case went to trial and in April 2017 a jury sided with Jiang and the archdiocese, which was also named in the suit.
Criminal charges of child endangerment and witness tampering — Jiang had been accused of leaving the family a $20,000 check along with an apology note — were dropped.
In 2014 Jiang was accused of sexually assaulting a boy in the restroom at St. Louis the King school, the elementary school at the Cathedral Basilica. All criminal charges were dropped against the priest in 2015 and Jiang filed a civil suit against the mother of the accuser and a victims group, alleging they made false claims.
The suit was settled in fall 2017 and the victims group, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, issued an apology to Jiang.
Parents at St. Gabriel said they did not get an official communication from the school or the archdiocese to address concerns about Jiang’s appointment.
Archbishop of St. Louis Robert Carlson did release a statement to media in response to concerns.
“After a civil process, it was determined in the courts that the accusations made against Fr. Jiang were without merit,” Carlson wrote.
The archbishop said he followed the guidance of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in reinstating Jiang to public ministry.
“I understand fully the concern that parents have for their children and I would not place any of you or your children in a potentially harmful situation,” Carlson wrote. “Fr. Jiang is a good man and a good priest, and I pray that we may all follow Christ’s example of treating our neighbor as we ourselves would want to be treated, including abstaining from gossip and character assassination toward any of our brothers and sisters in Christ.”
A group of St. Gabriel parents sent a statement to the Post-Dispatch in response to the archbishop.
"We are deeply disappointed that Archbishop Carlson has characterized our concern for the safety and well-being of our children as idle gossip or a defamation of character," the statement read. "This position only deepens our fear that our voices will go unheard."
Archbishop.jpg 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. Photo by David Carson, email@example.com
Jiang came to St. Louis at age 20 after escaping religious oppression in China. He served as a deacon in Saginaw, Mich., when Carlson was bishop there. He was ordained in St. Louis in May 2010, and then became an associate pastor at the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica.
He was suspended during the investigations into the allegations before he was appointed to St. Gabriel’s.
Parents say a meeting for the school community is planned May 31, during which officials will respond to concerns over Jiang’s appointment. The archdiocese confirmed Archbishop Carlson will attend the meeting.