Activists Will Challenge Church over Priest

By William C. Lhotka
Post-Dispatch [St. Louis MO]
January 17, 2004

Activists fighting sex abuse by priests said Friday that they plan to protest the support by the St. Louis Archdiocese of the Rev. Alexander R. Anderson, who is accused by two men of molesting them as boys in 1988.

David Clohessy, director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said members would take their complaint to Anderson's parish and a national oversight board. Clohessy also said they would ask incoming Archbishop Raymond Burke to conduct his own investigation.

On Thursday, Bishop Joseph Naumann, the archdiocese administrator until Burke takes over Jan. 26, announced support for Anderson. That followed a decision by a committee that said accusations made by a man whose name has not been made public, now 29, were without merit.

A previous accuser, Arthur P. Andreas, also now 29 and claiming to have been molested at about the same time, had complained to a prosecutor who found too little evidence for charges. Andreas never went before church investigators.

Anderson has sued Andreas, claiming defamation; Andreas has countersued the priest and archdiocese.

Clohessy said Friday that he has asked a national oversight board to look into why the church here did not remove Anderson while the investigation was pending.

Monsignor Richard Stika, the vicar general in St. Louis, said the church followed policy by holding a hearing within 48 hours of getting the man's complaint. Jim Orso, an archdiocesan spokesman, said church rules call for the removal of a priest if he admits abuse or after abuse is established in a hearing.


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