Jefferson City Diocese adds names to list of clergy accused of abuse

By Nikki Ogle And Spencer Humphrey
December 15, 2018

The Jefferson City Diocese confirmed Saturday three people were added to its list of clergy accused of abuse. 

In a bulletin passed out at the end of its Saturday mass, the diocese included a statement adding the names of Robert Duesdieker, Don Greene and Mel Lahr to its list of clergy accused and/or removed from ministry in the Diocese of Jefferson City. 

According to the statement, Duesdieker and Lahr were removed from ministry and Greene is deceased. It did not specify what year Duesdieker and Lahr were removed from ministry or when Greene died.

It also did not indicate when any suspected abuse took place, nor how many victims they may have had. 

Saturday's release comes more than a month after the diocese first released a list containing 33 names of clergy accused of abuse. 

In the statement from the Jefferson City diocese, Bishop Shawn McKnight wrote, “This update is a result of information we received after our November 8 release and recent action by the Diocesan Review Board.”

James Offutt, a Centralia priest who recently retired, said the names on the list seem to be only of those accused of abusive acts. He said the diocese's transparency should be "full and entire," and include names of those who cover up abuse. 

"It seems to me if you’re going to be people that are going to present the idea of transparency, compassion and integrity and honor, you ought to go all the way. Not just those who commit the immediate things, but those who cover them up, facilitate them, do whatever," he said. 

He said he was not surprised by the newly added names. Offutt said he informed Bishop Shawn McKnight about one the newly accused priests.

"I knew about him, and everybody else did. Why it didn’t get there in the first place? I don’t know," Offutt said. "I’m old. I’m retired. Why did I have to be the one to find out that name?"

Offutt said there needs to be a zero tolerance policy for sexual abuse within the church. 

"I think it’s about time we got our act together before it’s too late," he said.


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