Priest Sues Accuser After Sex Abuse Charges Dropped
A St. Louis priest who was accused of sexually abusing a boy in a Catholic school bathroom before the charges were dropped earlier this month is suing the alleged victim’s parents, police and a victim’s rights group.
Barbara Dorris of The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) tells KMOX that she believes the suit is intended to send a message.
“Our fear is that this is a way to intimidate victims, witnesses and whistle-blowers…into silence,” says Dorris. “If you tell the truth, we will sue you and I think it’s intended to silence people.”
The Rev. Xiu Hui “Joseph” Jiang, 32, filed suit Thursday in U.S. District Court, seeking unspecified damages. The suit claims he was unfairly targeted and his reputation was damaged.
It names the boy’s parents by their initials, as well two police officers, the city of St. Louis, SNAP and SNAP leaders David Clohessy and Barbara Dorris.
Jiang’s lawsuit said he “fled religious persecution in his native land of China, only to face religious persecution in America in the form of unconstitutional discrimination by state officials.” It also said the parents “falsely and maliciously accused (Jiang) of sexually abusing their minor son for the crass motive of monetary gain,” and that police officers went after him because of his religious and racial background.
SNAP leaders “led a shameless smear campaign” against Jiang, the suit alleged.
Clohessy is calling this an “intimidation suit.”
“We believe Jiang and Carlson are both telling Catholic families, shut up,” says Clohessy. “If you know or have heard something about Father Jiang, shut up. If you saw something or expected something about Father Jiang, shut up,”
Dorris said she felt sorry for the family of the alleged abuse victim.
“Imagine your child says he’s been abused. You believe him. So do police and prosecutors. But your archbishop lets the predator priest sue you. Imagine how devastating that would be,” Dorris said.
Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce dismissed two felony abuse charges on June 16, saying in a statement that the prosecution was “unable to proceed at this time,” but that her office “remains hopeful that charges will be refiled in the future.”
The dropped charges said the alleged abuse occurred in 2011 and 2012. Jiang’s attorney, Paul D’Agrosa, said the allegations were false and the charges never should have been filed.
Jiang was an associate pastor at the Cathedral Basilica in St. Louis, where he was mentored by Archbishop Robert Carlson after spending time under his tutelage in Saginaw, Michigan, where Carlson was bishop from 2005 to 2009. Jiang was ordained in St. Louis in 2010.
The allegation was the second against him. He previously was accused in 2012 of contact with a teenage girl and giving the family a $20,000 check for their silence. The family lived in Old Monroe, but worshiped at the Cathedral Basilica. That criminal case was dismissed in 2013, though a lawsuit filed by the family is pending.
KMOX reports that Archdiocese spokesperson Gabe Jones says the Archdiocese is not involved in the suit and they were not aware of it until it as filed. The St. Louis Circuit Attorney says that the case could be filed again at a later date if warranted.
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