Former Priest Accused of Molesting Boys Living in St. Louis

Associated Press State & Local Wire
April 7, 2002

A former priest accused by four Lincoln brothers of molesting them 24 years ago went home to St. Louis, where he has not registered as a sex offender, the Lincoln Journal Star reported.

Robert Hrdlicka, 51, who was court martialed and sentenced to prison in 1993 after pleading guilty to indecent acts with minors in South Carolina and Sicily, Italy, is accused of assaulting the Lincoln brothers in 1978, before he became a military chaplain.

The Lincoln Diocese announced late last month that four brothers, now adults, are demanding $2 million from the diocese to keep quiet about their alleged abuse at the hands of Hrdlicka.

Hrdlicka has failed to report his whereabouts to the St. Louis Police Department for inclusion in the area's sex offender registry, the Journal Star reported Sunday.

Officer Gary Coxen of the St. Louis County Police Department said it appears Hrdlicka should be registered, but he does not show up on lists in either the city or county.

Sex offenders are required to register there, even if convicted in another state or federal jurisdiction, he said. They have 10 days to register after moving to the state. It appears Hrdlicka has been in St. Louis at least a couple of years, Coxen said.

Repeated attempts by the Journal Star to reach Hrdlicka at his home and workplace last week were unsuccessful, and messages were not returned. On Saturday, a call to his home indicated the phone had been disconnected.

Hrdlicka, who was defrocked in 1993, served the Lincoln diocese from 1977 to 1986, when he left to become a Navy chaplain, according to Lincoln Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz.

Hrdlicka served at Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily in 1988 and was assigned to the Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, S.C., in June 1990.

Hrdlicka was relieved of his Navy duties after an investigation began into reports of molestation while he was stationed in Italy.

The investigation also revealed that Hrdlicka had molested boys since being assigned to the Beaufort, S.C., base in June 1990.

The seven charges stemmed from two incidents in Italy and five in Beaufort, and involved four boys ranging in age from 7 to 11 years.

Hrdlicka served 5 years at the Federal Medical Center in Lexington, Ky., according to Traci Billingsley, a Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman.

Last month, Bruskewitz received a letter from one of four brothers alleging sexual misconduct by Hrdlicka in 1978 and asking for $2 million in compensation for the four men.

Bruskewitz refused to pay the money and issued a press release regarding the letter, the allegations and the diocese's policy. The brothers told the Journal Star that they requested the money to get the church's attention.

They want a full apology for the abuse they say occurred.

The diocese has said no record of complaints against Hrdlicka were found when Bruskewitz came to Lincoln. The bishop said he learned of the accusations in 1993 after asking questions in the diocese. The family was contacted and did not respond to an offer of assistance at that time, he said.


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