Civil Suit against 3 Priests Is Settled
Missouri Man to Receive $140,000. Allegations Included Sexual Abuse

Associated Press, carried in Kansas City Star
April 20, 2007

St. Louis | A Missouri man has settled a civil lawsuit against three priests in the St. Louis area who he claims molested him during the 1970s and 1980s.

One of the priests had Kansas City ties.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said the settlement involved three priests who had not previously been accused publicly of sexual abuse. The settlement for $140,000 was made final Monday, said SNAP's director, David Clohessy. The lawsuit was filed in 2004 and the victim declined to be identified.

The lawsuit named four priests — Thaddeus Posey, Michael Barry, Chester Gaiter and James Theil. The settlement covers Barry, Gaiter and Theil, while the case against Posey is ongoing, Clohessy said.

Barry was born and raised in the Kansas City area and was ordained in 1979 at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church. He was a teacher and a hospital chaplain in St. Louis and taught history at Rockhurst College in Kansas City. He died in February 1987 in St. Louis.

Gaiter and Theil have retired from the priesthood. Theil lives in Grand Rapids, Mich., and Posey's whereabouts were unknown, Clohessy said.

Monsignor Richard Sika said the St. Louis Archdiocese did not investigate the four priests accused in the lawsuit because they belonged to Catholic orders with separate leadership structures.

Sika said the archdiocese agreed to pay one-third of the settlement because the abuse allegedly occurred on church property.

The remaining two-thirds of the settlement was split evenly between the Jesuit and Redemptorist orders, Sika said.

The Jesuits of the Missouri Province released a statement Thursday saying it took all accusations of abuse seriously, but couldn't confirm whether allegations laid out in the lawsuit were true.

Redemptorist spokeswoman Kristine Stremel said the Vatican dismissed Theil from the priesthood in 1997. She confirmed the settlement but wouldn't comment further.


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