Ex-columbia Priest to Be Sentenced

July 25, 2019


Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, two clergy sex abuse victims will

--reveal that three more credibly accused predator priests spent time in Columbia.

--urge mid-Missouri Catholics to write a judge and seek the stiffest penalty for a twice-admitted serial predator priest who worked in Columbia and soon faces sentencing.

They will also prod Jeff City’s bishop to

--add another name of a priest – who worked in Rolla - to his ‘accused’ list, and

--also write to the judge about the soon-to-be-sentenced predator priest.


Wednesday, July 24 at 2 p.m.


Outside the Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, 903 Bernadette Dr., Columbia (573 445 7915)


Two abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, including a St. Louis man who was the group's former long time executive director and was abused by a mid-MO priest


---) Next month (8/16), an admitted former Columbia serial predator priest will be sentenced by St. Louis County Judge Ellen Hannigan Ribaudo. In May, Fr. Fred Lenczycki pled guilty to abusing two Missouri boys. Years earlier, he pled guilty to molesting three Illinoisboys. (He also worked several places in St. Louis.)



Last fall, SNAP revealed that Lenczycki spent time at Our Lady of Lourdes (but Bishop Shawn McKnight refuses to add him to the official diocesan ‘credibly accused’ list).


For the safety of kids, SNAP will publicly urge mid-Missouri Catholic staff and church-goers, including Bishop Shawn McKnight, to write the judge and prod her to lock up Lenczycki for as long as possible. The group will also again urge McKnight to add Lenczycki’s name to the diocese’s official list of ‘credibly accused’ abusive clerics.

Lenczycki was the first US priest in history to be deemed a "sexually violent predator." Because of that designation, he was kept behind bars even after having served his sentence. According to one news account, he “is believed to have molested an estimated 31 boys in three states over his 25 year career as a priest.”

Lenczycki’s lawyer was Matthew Radefeld of St. Louis (314 725 7777).

2) In March, SNAP disclosed that two alleged predator priests worked in Columbia:

-- Fr. Mel Lahr, who was at Sacred Heart in Columbia in 1973. (He also worked in Hannibal, Canton, Boonville, Bourbon, Salibury and St. Martins and was also chaplain at the Boonville Training School for Boys in 1974-1975.)


--- Fr. Geoffrey A. Brooke, who was at the Newman Center at U. of Missouri. In March, he was put on leave this year because of reports of"boundary violations with minors." (He also worked in Sedalia, Jeff City, Washington DC.)

Since then, SNAP has discovered that three more priests deemed ‘credibly accused’ of child sex abuse have lived or worked in Columbia(according to the Official Catholic Directory). They are:

--Fr. John Long, who was at Our Lady of Lourdes in Columbia, Mexico, Jefferson City, Moberly and Lake of the Ozarks. He took a leave of absence in 1982 and retired in 2000.



--Fr. Donald L. Wallace who was pastor of Sacred Heart parish in Columbia (1974-1975), studied at University of Missouri-Columbia (1972-1973) and worked at a Columbia hospital in 1998, after reportedly stepping down from parish work the year before and undergoing treatment. (He also worked in Salisbury, Fayette, Marshall, Moberly, Rich Fountain, St. Thomas, Fulton, Jefferson City, Dixon and Rolla, where he was credibly accused of abusing four kids).


--Fr. John H. Fisher, who was pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Columbia, (1970-1971) and retired 1993. (He also worked in Jefferson City, Rolla, Hannibal and Macon.)

3) Last November, when Bishop McKnight released a list of ‘credibly accused’ clerics, he did NOT reveal the towns where these predators worked. (Many of his brother bishops across the US, have done this.) SNAP calls this “continued and inexcusable secrecy” both “reckless and callous,” saying “it endangers kids, hampers law enforcement, and impedes healing.”

The group wants McKnight to provide – and permanently and prominently post on church websites - a full list of abusive church staff (priests, deacons, bishops, monks, seminarians and lay employees) along with their photos, whereabouts and work histories.

4) SNAP has also learned that a credibly accused St. Louis predator priest, Fr. James Gummersbach, worked in Rolla in the 1950s. So the group wants him added to the Jeff City diocesan ‘credibly accused’ list.


Bishop McKnight can be reached at 573 635 9127. His vicar general, Msgr. Robert Kurwicki, can be reached at


David Clohessy 314 566 9790,








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