Files Released on Two Predators

October 25, 2013


Holding signs at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will urge Springfield - Cape Girardeau Catholic officials to

--publicly disclose the release of long-secret files about two child molesting clerics,

--announce the recent death of Missouri’s most notorious predator priest, and

--post the files and the announcement on diocesan websites and parish bulletins urging more victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to come forward (so that those who committed or concealed crimes will be prosecuted and kids will be safer and victims will get help).


Saturday, Oct.26 at noon


Outside the Springfield Catholic diocese headquarters (“chancery office”), 601 South Jefferson Ave., (corner of E. Harrison) in Springfield, MO


More than 200 pages of records about two predator priests who worked in the Springfield-Cape Girardeau diocese have recently been released.

More info about both men can be found at and here:




And last week, Missouri’s most notorious predator priest, Msgr. Thomas O’Brien passed away. He worked at St. Agnes parish in Springfield in the 1950s and has been sued dozens of times for sexually assaulting kids, mostly in the Kansas City area.

(One southwest Missouri man, Joe Eldred, is suing O’Brien for molesting him.)


SNAP says that many victims stay silent for decades and speak up only after the person who molested them passes away.

In response to these developments, SNAP is urging Springfield Bishop James V. Johnston to “reach out” to anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by any of the three priests.

Fr. John V. “Jack” Farris spent one year at the Evangelical Center in Cape Girardeau in 1985-1986. (See page 44 of the records for more details.) Farris is a Kansas City native who went to seminary in Kansas City and was ordained in 1949 in St. Louis. Fr. Farris was primarily assigned to eight or nine Missouri churches and church facilities from 1958-1999.

Fr. John Edward Ruhl worked at St. Vincent’s College and St. Vincent parish in Cape Girardeau in the mid-1960s. He is a Chicago native who was ordained in 1964 in St. Louis. His photo is available at


The lawsuits against both priests were settled in 2007, with a provision that personnel documents about the clerics – and hundreds of other child molesting priests, nuns, and brothers – would be publicly disclosed. Despite that agreement, Catholic officials filed repeated legal motions delaying the disclosures for almost seven years.

Fr. Farris is accused of molesting a child in California from 1951-54. He was then sent to a series of parishes in Missouri beginning in 1957.

In the 1980s, Farris spent time at St. Cletus’ parish in St. Charles and St. Vincent de Paul’s parish in St. Louis. He passed away in 2003.

Fr. Ruhl is accused of molesting three children from 1970-82. In 2002, an abuse report was made to his church supervisors in California that he molested a child several times in the early 1970s. Another confidential memo dated 1993 was written after a young man contacted church officials and said he’d been molested by Fr. Ruhl at a seminary in 1976.

According to the Los Angeles Daily News, “a follow-up note said Fr. Ruhl had been given a lie-detector test after a previous accusation and ‘there was reason to suspect that there had possibly been other inappropriate behaviors.’”


In the Springfield-Cape Girardeau diocese, the Vincentians have worked at several places including Holy Trinity parish in Aurora, Christ the Savior parish in Brewer and Sacred Heart parish in Verona.

Msgr. O’Brien’s photo and work history are here:


Fr. Ruhl’s photo is also available at


David Clohessy 314-566-9790 cell,

Barbara Dorris 314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell,








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