Alleged Victim of Sex Abuse by Priests Identifies Himself in Jet

By Deb Peterson
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
May 25, 2007

Doe's Identity: The "John Doe" whose name was not disclosed last month when his civil sex abuse lawsuit here against three Catholic priests was settled for $140,000, has revealed his identity in a story in the May 28 issue of Jet magazine. The name of Charles Spearman, a picture of him and his story of abuse appear in the national weekly magazine, whose audience is primarily African-American. Spearman's account of the crimes he suffered as a child is the first time he has told his story publicly. It says in the story that Spearman, 38, has an undergraduate degree from St. Louis University and has completed a master's degree at Fontbonne University. He alleged in the lawsuit that he was molested by the Rev. James Thiel at St. Paul's school in Pine Lawn from 1978-81, and also by three other priests, the Rev. Chester Gaiter, the Rev. Thaddeus Posey and the Rev. Michael O. Barry, at Cardinal Ritter High School from about 1982 to about 1985, Ken Chackes, one of the plaintiff's attorneys, said last month. A lawsuit against all four was filed in St. Louis Circuit Court in 2004. Attorneys also said last month that a separate lawsuit against Posey and the Capuchin order was pending in federal court. Spearman explains in the story that he has come forward "so that others can be saved and not affected by this horrible crime." He also said he had decided to "speak the truth" by writing a book about his experiences.

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS: "Governing," a national monthly magazine published by Congressional Quarterly Inc., likens a union of Clayton and Richmond Heights to "a Donald Trump-style wedding." Clayton "loves neighboring Richmond Heights for its money." And Richmond Heights "loves Clayton for its looks," writes Christopher Swope in his column "Urban Notebook," in the May issue of the magazine. Swope explains the merger issue by saying that Clayton's retail sector is eroding and that if residents want to keep their high-quality government services, they need to either raise property taxes or get Richmond Heights to share its growing mall revenue. To the question of what's in it for Richmond Heights, Swope wrote: "Clayton's cachet. Over time, that might rub off in the form of higher home values." Stay tuned, this one's still simmering

RESTAURANT ROUNDUP: Our town's hospitality honcho, Kent Hirschfelder of Hospitality Brokerage Group, is just back from delivering a seminar at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago. The show, which attracts some 80,000 worldwide industry members, is one of the largest trade shows in the world. Hirschfelder's seminar was titled: "Buying and Selling a Restaurant: What Every Foodservice Professional Should Know." Some of the recent deals he has brokered include the Oceano Bistro in Clayton; the Lynch Street Bistro across from the brewery, which is due to reopen in June as the Beechwood Grille; and Bistro Alexander (former Limoncello in Clayton), which is set to open any day.

LOCAL TIES: The Rev. John Arthur Nunes, who has been named the fourth president in the history of Lutheran World Relief, may be remembered by St. Louisans for his work here with Concordia Publishing House, the publisher of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Nunes, 44, was the director for church resource development at Concordia. He will take over Lutheran World Relief on July 1. He is currently assistant professor of theology at Concordia University in River Forest, Ill., and a pastor for Bethany Lutheran Church in Chicago. He is also a candidate for a Ph.D. from the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago. Nunes' wife, Monique, is principal at St. John Lutheran School in Forest Park, Ill. The Nuneses have four daughters and a son.

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