Former Springfield Priest Accused of Child Sex Abuse; Case Sent to Prosecutors

By Harrison Keegan
Springfield News-Leader
April 29, 2020

The local Catholic diocese announced this week a former Springfield priest was recently accused of sexually abusing a child in a different jurisdiction.

Father Gary Carr, 66, was accused of sexually abusing a boy in southeast Missouri nearly 30 years ago when the boy was between the ages of 10 and 13, according to a news release from the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau.

The release says Carr, who worked in Springfield early in his career and lived here as recently as 2004, officially retired in November, but he had been restricted in ministry with no priestly faculties since 2008.

The Catholic Center of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. (Photo: Nathan Papes/News-Leader)

According to the release, the allegation against Father Carr is that he sexually abused a boy in Stoddard County, and the Diocesan Safe Environment Review Board determined the case met the diocese's standard of "semblance of truth" so it was publicized.

The diocese says it also forwarded its report to the Stoddard County Prosecutor's Office for possible criminal charges.

No criminal charges had been filed against Carr as of Wednesday, but Stoddard County Prosecutor Russell Oliver has shown a willingness to pursue criminal charges against former clergy members.

In March, Oliver's office filed statutory sodomy and sexual abuse charges against retired priest Frederick Lutz in connection with a case from 2000.

Oliver told the News-Leader on Wednesday that his office received the report on Father Carr a month or two ago and has launched an ongoing investigation.

The Lutz case was referred to the Stoddard County Prosecutor's Office as part of a statewide investigation by the Missouri Attorney General's Office into clergy sexual abuse. It does not appear this case involving Carr is a product of the attorney general investigation.

Father Carr worked as an associate pastor at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish in Springfield starting in December 1982. He lives in St. Louis.

Diocese spokeswoman Leslie Eidson said then-Bishop James Johnston placed Carr on administrative leave in 2008 for "boundary violations" and what the bishop considered imprudent behavior, but there had been no allegations of sexual abuse against Father Carr at that time.

Eidson said the sexual abuse allegation came to the diocese in December, and the review board convened on March 30 to discuss the case. She said a letter was sent to Stoddard County authorities on Feb. 21.

The diocese asked anyone with information regarding inappropriate behavior by Carr or any priest to contact law enforcement and the Diocesan Office of Child and Youth Protection at 417-866-0841 or by email at There is also a TIPS portal on the diocese's website

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests called on the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau to release more information about the allegations involving Father Carr and for Bishop Edward Rice to visit each parish where Carr worked to publicize the news and encourage victims and witnesses to come forward.

The diocese provided this list of Carr's pastoral appointments:

1981— Deacon, St. Mary Parish, Joplin, MO

Dec. 1982 — Associate Pastor, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Springfield, MO

Dec. 1983 — Leave of Absence, reasons of health

Aug. 1985 —Part-time Associate Pastor, St. Mary Parish, Joplin, MO; Full-time Teacher, Joplin Area Catholic Schools

Feb. 1987 — Associate Pastor, Sacred Heart Parish, Webb City, MO; Full-time Teacher, St. Peter Middle School, Joplin Aug.,

1987 — Pastor, St. Joseph Parish, Advance, MO; St. Anthony Mission Church, Glennon, MO

Aug. 1988 — Leave of Absence, reasons of health

Aug. 1989 — Pastor, St. Teresa Parish, Glennonville, MO; St. Ann Parish, Malden, MO

June 1990 — Leave of Absence, reasons of health

Aug. 1991 — Priest in Residence, Sacred Heart Parish, Poplar Bluff, MO; Full-time Teacher, Sacred Heart Catholic School, Poplar Bluff

Aug. 1993 — Priest in Residence and Director of Religious Education (DRE), St. Henry Parish, Charleston, MO; Principal, St. Henry Catholic School, Charleston

Aug. 1996 — Pastor, St. Mark Parish, Houston, MO; St. John the Baptist Mission Church, Licking, MO; St. Vincent de Paul Mission Church, Roby, MO

Aug. 1997 — Principal, Holy Name Catholic School, Ketchikan, Alaska

Aug. 1999 — Pastor, St. Mary Parish, West Plains, MO; Sacred Heart Mission Church, Thayer, MO; Principal, of St. Mary Catholic School, West Plains

Aug. 2001 — Pastor, St. Joseph Parish, Billings, MO; Principal, St. Lawrence Catholic School, Monett, MO

Aug. 2004 — Leave of Absence, reasons of health, resided in Springfield

Aug. 2005 — Health leave, Flagstaff, AZ; Sacramental Assistance within the Diocese of Phoenix

Jan. 2006 — Health leave, Floyd, NM; Sacramental Assistance within the Archdiocese of Santa Fe (Albuquerque, Clovis)

July 2008 — Pastoral work/Supply priest with the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, St. Francis de Sales Oratory: Traditional Latin Mass (Extraordinary Form) and sacraments

Dec. 2008 — Restricted in Ministry, no priestly faculties

Nov. 2019 — Retired








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