St. Louis Priest Who Lives in Belize Accused of Abuse

By Tim Townsend
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
May 27, 2009

A man sued the Archdiocese of St. Louis and one of its priests in St. Louis County Circuit Court Tuesday, alleging that he was sexually abused by the priest, the Rev. Kevin Hederman, in the early 1990s.

The lawsuit alleges that Hederman, who now lives in Belize, invited the teenager to his residence at North American Martyrs Church in Florissant to minister to the teenager's "spiritual, psychological and emotional needs."

Hederman met the teenager, then a student at Christian Brothers College high school, when Hederman occasionally celebrated Mass at the school's former campus in Clayton, according to the lawsuit. CBC has since moved to Town and Country.

During one visit to Hederman's residence, the priest instructed the teenager "to lie prone on the floor and then Fr. Hederman engaged in inappropriate and unwanted sexual contact with the plaintiff," according to the lawsuit.

Susan Carlson, an attorney for the former CBC student, said he was 17 at the time of the alleged abuse. He filed his lawsuit as John Doe 115.

In a statement released through his attorneys, John Doe 115 said: "I went to see Father Kevin because I felt I didn't have anywhere else to turn at the time, and I knew he would understand my teenage angst because he was such a nice man, and a priest and a man respected by many, including me."

Msgr. Vernon Gardin of the archdiocese said he could not comment on pending litigation.

Msgr. Robert Gettinger, pastor of St. Augustine Church in St. Louis, said a number of parishes in the archdiocese have taken up collections over the last decade to support Hederman's work in Belize.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.