Jefferson City Priest Honored by VOTF & SNAP

June 21, 2011

He defied Catholic hierarchy & helped victims

Reform-minded lay group & victims organization praise him

A long time Jefferson City diocese Catholic priest is being honored for his “courageous and compassionate work” on behalf of clergy sex abuse victims.

This morning, the St. Louis chapter of Voice of the Faithful ( gave an award to Fr. Joseph Starmann at a small ceremony in St. Louis County.

“Another organization, a support group called the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests nominated Starmann for the honor,” said Peggy Fitzpatrick of VOTF.

“Father Joe is a brave and caring man, and a humble hero,” said David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP’s director. “He is among a handful of priests in this country who has both helped protect the vulnerable and console those already wounded, even against the wishes of his church supervisors. We admire and appreciate him tremendously”

Starmann was tapped for the award because he has:

--repeatedly and publicly addressed the issue of clergy sex abuse and cover up,

--personally given financial aid to help victims in need,

--advocated for victims who church officials tried to end therapy fund payments to,

-- lobbied to reform Missouri’s archaic, predator-friendly child sex laws.

SNAP says that bishops almost always fight these legislative reforms. “By doing this, Fr. Starmann knowingly risked the wrath of Missouri’s top church officials,” said Mary Ellen Kruger of SNAP.

The proposal that Starmann lobbied for was passed by the Missouri General Assembly. It gives child sex abuse victims in Missouri more time to take legal action against the adults who molested them, as well as the employers or supervisors who ignored or concealed the crimes.

For years, Starmann was a co-host of the Sunday morning public affairs show “The Pastor’s Study” on KRCG TV in Jefferson City. Starmann worked at Catholic parishes in Columbia, Hermitage, Vienna, and Camdenton .

Now 78, Starmann lives in Winfield and helps out as the Catholic Chaplain at the Missouri Veterans’ Home, as Chaplain at St. Joseph’s Institute for the Deaf, and by saying mass at parishes in the St. Louis area. He can be reached at 636-566-8420.


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