Survivor rallies to expose alleged priest abusers, Jefferson City Diocese responds


July 24, 2019

By Kyreon Lee

A member of the group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests and a member from Voices of the Faithful gathered outside of the Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Columbia on Wednesday to rally.

Survivor and SNAP’s former long time executive director, David Clohessy, said he was abused by a Moberly priest in the 1960s, when he was 12 to 16 years old. Clohessy said he came forward when he was in his 30s because he couldn’t be silent anymore. He said they were rallying in response to a former Columbia priest that is set to be sentenced next month.

According to online court records, in May, ex-priest Fred Lenczycki pleaded guilty to two counts of sodomy. According to The Associated Press, Lenczycki pleaded guilty to crimes that occurred in the early 1990s when he was serving at a parish in north St. Louis County. Church and court files show that Lenczycki admitted abusing up to 30 boys in Illinois, Missouri and California over 25 years. Lenczycki was removed from the ministry in 2002, when he was charged with sexually abusing three boys in the 1980s at a church in Hinsdale, Illinois. The Illinois victims told authorities “Father Fred” repeatedly molested them, often using the pretense of swaddling them in “Baby Jesus” costumes for pageants that never took place. He pleaded guilty in 2004 and was sentenced to five years in prison. In 2008, a year before his release, he became the first U.S. priest to be labeled sexually violent when he was committed under Illinois’ Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act.

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