Supreme Court Orders St. Louis Archdiocese to Release Names of
February 5, 2014
ST. LOUIS — The Missouri Supreme Court ruled Wednesday
that the Archdiocese of St. Louis must release the names of more
than 100 church employees accused of sexual abuse over the past
20 years as part of a civil lawsuit it faces.
The denial of an archdiocese request upholds a St.
Louis judge's earlier decision. The names will be released only
to an unnamed woman suing the diocese and her attorneys, not to
the general public.
The lawsuit was filed in 2011 by a 19-year-old woman
who claimed the abuse began when she was 5 years old and
attended St. Cronan's parish.
The priest, who was later defrocked, had been
convicted of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy at a parish
in University City decades earlier. He then received treatment
and was reassigned to St. Cronan's.
Kenneth M. Chackes, the woman's attorney, said in an
interview he expects the release of names to be "very helpful."
"Without seeing the names, it's hard to know how many
people complained about sex abuse by priests, and to know how
the archdiocese responded," he said.
As part of its appeal of the lower court ruling, the
archdiocese subsequently released a list of 240 complaints made
against 115 priests and other employees since 1986. A court
order keeps the names sealed.
In a written statement, the archdiocese said it fought
the release of names to "protect the privacy rights of all
involved, including victims who had no connection to current
litigation and who had expressed anonymity regarding their
"Although we share the disappointment of the many
innocent individuals who will be affected by it, the Archdiocese
of St. Louis will comply with the court order entered by the
Missouri Supreme Court," the statement reads.