Former Chaminade Priest Defrocked — SNAP Wants Apology

January 12, 2011

Barbara Dorris and David Clohessy outside Marianist headquarters

Marianist priest who once taught at Chaminade – Father William Christensen — is accused of molesting boys connected to a charity where he worked in Bangladesh.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests today picketed outside the Central West End headquarters of the Marianists. SNAP is upset that a Vatican decision to defrock Christensen was not announced locally.

“Not once have Catholic officials anywhere in this country told people that he’s accused of molesting thirty kids in Bangladesh, and that he’s been formally defrocked by the Vatican,” Clohessy said.

SNAP wants local Catholic officials to apologize for their silence on the scandal.

“And they need to aggressively reach out to former students at McBride and Chaminade, any place where Father Christensen was, and get those people to come forward, if they were hurt and get help,” Clohessy said.

The Marianist released a statement confirming Christensen was defrocked by the Vatican in October of 2010, following “several accusations of sexual abuse” from Bangladesh.

Responding to allegations that it failed to alert the public, the Marianist statement says:

“When the accusations were deemed credible, the Papal Nuncio in Bangladesh informed all the dioceses in Bangladesh of this information. Because Christensen’s appeal of the laicization is under appeal by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and he is living in Bangladesh, there is no final resolution to be reported.”

The statement goes on to say that “until the appeal is settled, he remains a priest and a member of the Society of Mary.”

In 2002, a former Chaminade student, Michael Powel, sued Christensen, alleging he molested him as a child. In 2007, Powell died of a brain tumor before the suit could be resolved.


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