Archdiocese of St. Louis will file an appeal with the Missouri Supreme Court

January 10, 2014
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A Missouri appellate court has denied a writ of prohibition filed by attorneys for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. The writ was in response to a court order granting a plaintiff’s attorney’s request for the release of names, addresses, and phone numbers of victims of clergy sexual abuse and of priests who have been accused of sexual abuse over a 20-year period.

The archdiocese attempted to limit the scope of the order to protect the privacy rights of all involved, including victims who had never expressed desire to be part of public litigation. It has always been our objective to work within the judicial process toward a resolution that is rooted in truth and fairness. The fact that the appeal was initially granted shows how difficult this issue is for all involved, the parties and the courts. We respect the trial court’s efforts to build mechanisms to address these challenging issues, but we continue to disagree that an unprecedented invasion of third parties’ lives is warranted. We will exhaust the appellate remedies afforded all parties in civil litigation by filing an immediate appeal with the Missouri Supreme Court; the Archdiocese of St. Louis will comply with all court orders as affirmed or as modified by the reviewing courts.

The safety and dignity of every child in every claim is paramount. Our Safe Environment Office leads the effort to keep kids safe through a program of background checks, training, and education for all clergy, archdiocesan employees, and lay volunteers who work with minors. In a little more than 10 years, about 150,000 people have been trained in this program.

The Archdiocese of St. Louis encourages all persons with reports of misconduct with a minor involving a member of the clergy or other church personnel to contact Deacon Phil Hengen, Director of Child and Youth Protection, at 314.792.7704 or the Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 800.392.3738 or law enforcement officials.

We continue to pray for the safety and dignity of all children everywhere.