Victims to Hold Vigil outside Courtroom

November 15, 2013


With signs and childhood photos outside a “crucial” court hearing, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will hold a 30 minute vigil and blast St. Louis Catholic officials for

--seeking a teenage victim’s private emails, while

--trying to reverse a judge’s decision ordering them to turn over records about every accused archdiocesan sex offender


Friday, Nov. 15 at 8:30 a.m.


On the sidewalk outside Carnahan Court House at 1114 Market Street (corner of Tucker) in downtown St. Louis


Two-five members and supporters of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, ( the nation's largest support network for men and women abused in religious and institutional settings


In May, St. Louis Catholic Archbishop Robert Carlson was ordered to turn over information about every archdiocesan employee (nun, bishop, brother, teacher and priest) who has been accused of sex crimes going back two decades. Six months later, Carlson has not complied.

Now, Carlson’s lawyers are trying to “gut” the judge’s order while also trying to get a teenaged child sex abuse victim’s private emails.

The case involves Fr. Joseph D. Ross, who allegedly molested a girl at an inner city parish in 2000. In 1988, Ross pled guilty to sexually assaulting an 11 year old boy during confession. Despite that conviction, Catholic officials quietly put Ross back on the job but told no one about his crimes.

In May, Judge Robert Dierker ordered Carlson to turn over records about 20 years of allegations of sexual abuse and misdeeds by current and former archdiocesan staff.

Carlson’s lawyers want Dierker to reconsider his order. They say they should be forced to provide records for a shorter period of time, only about alleged child sex crimes, only about accused priests (not bishops, seminarians, brothers, nuns, teachers and other employees), and only records that have already been made public through criminal or civil court filings. They also want to NOT produce correspondence between Ross and the now-retired Cardinal Justin Rigali, who headed the St. Louis archdiocese for years, and material sent by local Catholic officials to the Vatican in their effort to defrock Ross.

“Carlson wants to gut the judge’s order and keep his secrets secret,” said SNAP’s David Clohessy. “If he gets his way, Carlson will get a lot of information from a teenaged victim and, in turn, provide her with virtually nothing new.”

“It’s the worst of both worlds. Carlson wants tons of private emails to and from a deeply wounded teenager, the victim in this case,” said SNAP’s Barbara Dorris. “But he argues that he should have to turn over almost nothing of substance to her.”

Dorris says that Carlson’s legal maneuvers prove “that bishops’ obsession with secrecy by in clergy sex cases is as strong today as it’s ever been,” only now “bishops work harder and smarter and more quietly to keep their role in clergy sex crimes hidden.”

The hearing starts at 9 a.m. before Judge Dierker in Division 18 in St. Louis city circuit court.

Ross has lived in Arkansas in recent years. He worked at parishes in University City, Lemay, Pacific, Woodson Terrace and St. Louis city. A photo of Ross is available at

At least one Ross victim is represented by St. Louis attorneys Ken Chackes (369 3902 cell, and Nicole Gorovsky (872 8420, St. Louis lawyer Scott Rosenblum has represented Ross.








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