Child Abuse Charges Dropped against St. Louis Priest

By Jim Salter
Belleville News-Democrat
June 17, 2015

The St. Louis circuit attorney's office has dismissed charges against a priest accused of sexually abusing a boy in a Catholic school bathroom, but it left open the possibility that it could refile the charges in the future.

Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce's office released a statement Wednesday announcing the dismissal of two felony counts against the Rev. Xiuhui Jiang. He was charged last year with twice abusing a boy under the age of 14 between July 2011 and August 2012 at a school in St. Louis.

Jiang's attorney, Paul D'Agrosa, said the allegations were false and the charges never should have been filed. He said Jiang is hopeful that the Archdiocese of St. Louis will reinstate all of his priestly privileges, which were suspended after the allegations surfaced.

The archdiocese said in an emailed statement late Wednesday that in light of the dismissed charges, the archdiocese will review when, how and if Jiang can return to his duties as a priest. The statement also said the archdiocese cooperated "with law enforcement during the investigation of all matters related to" Jiang.

The statement from Joyce's office said charges were dismissed "for reasons that the state is unable to proceed at this time." But it noted that the charges wouldn't reach their statute of limitations for 35 years.

"The Office remains hopeful that charges will be refiled in the future," the statement said. A spokeswoman for Joyce declined to comment further.

Jiang, 32, was an associate pastor at the Cathedral Basilica in St. Louis. He was mentored by Archbishop Robert Carlson after spending time under his tutelage in Saginaw, Michigan, where Carlson was bishop from 2005 to 2009.

Jiang, a native of China, was ordained in St. Louis in 2010. The allegation by the boy's family was the second against him.

He previously was accused in 2012 in Lincoln County of contact with a teenage girl and giving the family a $20,000 check for their silence. The family lived in Old Monroe, Missouri, but worshipped at the Cathedral Basilica.

That criminal case was dismissed in November 2013, though a lawsuit filed by the family is pending.

A support group known as "Friends of Father Joseph," which has more than 100 members, formed after that first allegation. One member, Bill Hannegan, said he was ecstatic about the latest decision.

"We always knew he was innocent and we very much look forward to his reinstatement as a priest," Hannegan said.

Barbara Dorris, a local organizer for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said the organization "is heart-broken for the two families" who accused Jiang. Dorris said Jiang used "legal maneuvers to escape consequences for his hurtful and illegal misdeeds."








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