Accused clergymen worked at Catholic high schools in Belleville, East St. Louis

Belleville News-Democrat

July 6, 2020

By Teri Maddox

Allegations against five clergymen who worked at metro-east Catholic high schools decades ago had been made public well before June, when the Society of Mary order put them on a list of 46 priests, brothers and aspirants “found to have sexually abused a minor.”

But all of the publicity occurred in other states over the past 20 years.

“For the first time, parishioners and the public in this area are likely being made aware of these allegations and the fact that these five were in the Belleville diocese,” said David Clohessy, co-founder of the St. Louis chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “(The allegations) are now publicly and clearly deemed credible.”

The five clergymen had assignments at Cathedral Central Catholic High School in Belleville and Central Catholic High School and Assumption Catholic High School in East St. Louis, which are all closed. It’s unknown if abuse occurred at these schools.

Four of the clergymen are known to be deceased, according to the order.

The one with the most assignments was the late Eugene T. Fitzsimmons, a brother who professed his vows in 1947 and taught at Assumption, which closed in 1989. He had nine other assignments in Texas, Wisconsin, Missouri, Hawaii and California before leaving ministry in 2000. He died in 2011.

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