Sins of the Fathers
ChrisOLeary.com > Sins > TOC > Violations of VOS ESTIS by ArchStL
July 19, 2019

On June 1, 2019 Pope Francis' VOS ESTIS LUX MUNDI went into effect. Sadly it seems to have had no effect on the behavior of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, which continues to be...

  • Regal.
  • Arrogant.
  • Callous.

For example, on July 1, 2019, after VOS ESTIS had been in effect for one month, Sandra Price of the Archdiocese of St. Louis threatened me with the release of confidential information -- gained, I assume, during the discovery phase of my lawsuit -- in an e-mail.

Sandra Price Threat Letter

The statement above is a CLEAR violation of Article 5 2 of VOS ESTIS LUX MUNDI which states...

2. The good name and the privacy of the persons involved, as well as the confidentiality of their personal data, shall be protected.

And it might even represent a CRIMINAL act of extortion.

And that's not the only such violation of the spirit, much less the law, of VOS ESTIS -- or potential CRIMINAL act -- that the Archdiocese of St. Louis has committed.

Violations of VOS ESTIS by ArchStL

VOS ESTIS LUX MUNDI contains a number of provisions for the treatment of survivors, specifically in Article 5.

Art. 5 – Care for persons
1. The ecclesiastical Authorities shall commit themselves to ensuring that those who state that they have been harmed, together with their families, are to be treated with dignity and respect, and, in particular, are to be:
a) welcomed, listened to and supported, including through provision of specific services;
b) offered spiritual assistance;
c) offered medical assistance, including therapeutic and psychological assistance, as required by the specific case.
2. The good name and the privacy of the persons involved, as well as the confidentiality of their personal data, shall be protected.

The problem, in sum, is that the Archdiocese of St. Louis -- STILL -- thinks their only obligation to survivors via the USCCB promise of an Assistance Coordinator is to give survivors the name of a psychologist if they don't already have one, which falls WELL short of the expectations set and the promises made in VOX ESTIS LUX MUNDI, particularly in Article 5.

Current/On-Going Violations

On March 26, 2019 I met with Archbishop Robert Carlson of the the Archdiocese of St. Louis (ArchStL). In the interests of the truth, and so that others can understand what it's like to -- try to -- get help from ArchStL, I recorded that meeting.

I gave ArchStL THREE MONTHS to respond to the requests I made during that meeting. When they didn't, I made the recording and the transcript public.

This section uses the recording and transcript of that meeting to document violations of VOX ESTIS LUX MUNDI that either stretched beyond, or occurred after, June 1, 2019.

Failure to Assist

As Sandra Price established during my March 26, 2019 meeting with Archbishop Carlson and her, the Archidocese of St. Louis is not in compliance with VELM Article 5 1 which requires dioceses to...

c) offered medical assistance, including therapeutic and psychological assistance, as required by the specific case.

As Price made clear during my meeting, and Archibshop Carlson concurred, ArchStL did not believe it has any such obligation...

SP: OK. So, typically, what Carol (Brescia) does… And you’ve talked to Carol… What Carol does is… Anybody in the diocese is free to call her. And what she does is link people to therapists if they do not have one. So that’s kind of her role for us.

Yes, she really did say...

"link people to therapists if they do not have one."

That's it.

The Archdiocese of St. Louis will give you the NAME of a therapist, but they won't PAY for your therapy sessions, which tend to run $100 per hour.

What's more, I see no evidence that the attitude or beliefs of the Archdiocese of St. Louis has changed since June 1, 2019.

While shocking, that would explain the behavior I've experienced since 2011 -- the complete and utter failure to help me -- and that I document and discuss in...

During the March 26, 2019 meeting, +Carlson and Price mentioned that the provision of financial assistance is determined by a review board, but I have never been offered the chance to submit a claim or to even talk to the review board.

What good is a process/program if access to it is never offered to survivors?

If it's just a sham.

Smear Campaign

During my March 26, 2019 meeting I informed +Carlson of the fact that the Archdiocese of St. Louis has been running a Smear Campaign against me since 2018...

…when asked to comment on O’Leary’s account, “The archdiocese’s record of Mr. O’Leary’s allegations are significantly different; however, due to a court order as well as our own ethical obligation, we are not at liberty to discuss Mr. O’Leary’s case.” Jones also said the information O’Leary shared initially changed multiple times by the time he broke off communication with the Office of Child and Youth Protection.

That's a flat out, bold-faced lie, the truth of which can be assessed using ArchStL's own words...

After informing Archbishop Carlson of the existence of the smear campaign, and the truth, I asked +Carlson to stop it.

To tell the truth.

To date, and continuing AFTER June 1, 2019 -- making it a violation of VELM -- no effort has been made by the Archdiocese of St. Louis to make it clear to the people of St. Louis that my story did not, in fact, change.

Stonewalling

Why do survivors get so frustrated with the Catholic church and their (arch)dioceses?

Too often, it's because of stonewalling.

Stonewalling is the act of repeatedly refusing to respond to the legitimate inquiries and pleas of survivors...

Instead, survivors are just ignored.

For example, I sent THREE e-mails to Sandra Price of the Archdiocese of St. Louis AFTER June 1, 2019...

Mon, Jun 3, 2019 8:30 AM
Meeting with Archbishop Carlson

FROM: me
TO: sandraprice@archstl.org

Let me know when I can meet again with Archbishop Carlson.

Thanks!

Chris O'Leary
Mon, Jun 10, 2019 11:01 AM
Appointment to Talk to Abp Carlson

FROM: me
TO: sandraprice@archstl.org

Let me know when I could talk again to Archbishop Carlson.

In part, I wanted to know when he's planning on letting the people of St. Louis that I didn't lie to ArchStL.

As I said, NOBODY from MQP will talk to me, and my kids think I'm lying and treat me with suspicion.

Thanks!

Chris O'Leary
Tue, Jun 18, 2019 3:15 PM
Follow-Up Meeting with Abp Carlson

FROM: me
TO: sandraprice@archstl.org

Please let me know when I could talk again to Archbishop Carlson.

In part, I want to know when he/you are planning on letting the people of St. Louis know my story didn't actually change and I didn't lie.

As I said, NOBODY from MQP will talk to me, and my kids think I'm lying and treat me with suspicion.

Thanks!

Chris O'Leary

...all of which went unanswered.

And, worse -- because they feed my mental illnesses and make me question my existence -- unacknowledged.

The Archdiocese of St. Louis has employed this tactic against me since 2011. And, critically, the stonewalling campaign continued AFTER the June 1, 2019 effective date of VELM.

False Allegations of "Terroristic Threats"

In February 2018, The Archdiocese of St. Louis contacted the Shrewsbury, MO police and alledged that I had made "Terroristic Threats" against ArchStL and Archbishop Carlson.

Which is strange given that, during my March 26, 2019 meeting, Sandra Price admitted that those allegations were baseless...

SP: All I can do is say, “I’m sorry.”

During that meeting, I informed Archbishop Carlson of that incident and asked him to make it clear to the people of St. Louis that I hadn't actually made Terroristic Threats; that the rumors about me that were circulating in my former parish community, and that I suspect were started by ArchStL, had no basis in fact.

To date -- and despite my asking AFTER June 1, 2019 -- ArchStL has issued no such public, or even private, statement.

I don't even have a letter I can show my kids to prove I'm not lying.

And, still, nobody from my (former) parish will talk to me, I assume because they are scared of me.

Because the Archdiocese of St. Louis told them I'm crazy.

And dangerous.

2019 July - Cutting Off Contact

On July 1, 2019 -- one month AFTER June 1, 2019 -- I received an e-mail from Sandra Price that, in addition to threatening to release confidential information, stated that the Archdiocese of St. Louis was cutting off communication with me.

Price stated a -- bogus -- reason that I had named survivors. I of course hadn't. In fact, and as you can hear in the recording and read in the transcript, I danced around the names of the two people who I know for certain are survivors of abuse.

CO: This is a direct message I received from a guy via Twitter later on that evening that’s consistent with my story....I know who he is. He’s not doing very well. He won’t get back in touch with me. But... Talking about... Dolan knew. Fr. Dolan knew what was going on. He saw stuff.

In truth, ArchStL was mad I went public with my recording and transcript of my meeting with Archbishop Carlson, despite the fact that I did so because I had given them THREE MONTHS to issue a clarifying statement stating...

  1. It Happened.
  2. My story DID NOT change.
  3. I didn't make Terroristic Threats.

...and all ArchStL did was continue to stonewall me.    

Failure to Excommunicate

It's my understanding that the punishment for sexually abuse a child during the sacrament of confession is excommunication.

Why then was my abuser, Fr. LeRoy Valentine, only permanently removed?

In 2002, then in 2011, and again 2013, I notified members of the Archdiocese of St. Louis that my abuser, Fr. LeRoy Valentine, had started abusing me during the sacrament of confession. And I'm not the only person to make such an allegation. However, I have never been told that Fr. Valentine has been or will be excommunicated. Is this punishment only rendered when the abuser is prominent, and not just a parish priest?

Using a Smear Campaign as a De Facto
Confidentiality Agreement

No, I wasn't asked/forced to sign a confidentiality agreement.

But what's the -- de facto -- difference between a Confidentiality Agreement and a Smear Campaign?

Both mean the victim won't be listened to.

And have the same effect.

Historical Violations

I do not know if the provisions of VOS ESTIS LUX MUNDI can be applied retroactively.

To events that occurred before June 1, 2019.

If they can, then the following summary pieces are relevant and document historical violations of VELM.

2019 March - Failure to Assist

On March 26, 2019 I met with Archbishop Robert Carlson of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. One thing I wanted to do -- and accomplished -- was to inform him of my plight and asked him for financial assistance paying for therapy, etc.

Before I could do so, and as you can hear on the transcript of the meeting, Archbishop Carlson flat out refused to do anything to help me.

AbpC: But my hope with everybody I’ve met is that…Even if we can’t have healing with the church because of what has happened…

I was so stunned that I didn't -- and couldn't -- respond but, if I had, it would be with a very basic question.

Why not?

2019 March - ArchStL Violations of A.5 1

According the Archdiocese of St. Louis, and as is documented by my recording of my March 26, 2019 meeting with Archbishop Carlson, ArchStL believes their only obligation to survivors is to provide them with the name of a psychologist. I don't know if that's consistent with VELM, but it explains their handling of my case and the treatment I document in these pieces.

2014 January - Perjury

In January 2014, the Archdiocese of St. Louis produced, under court order, a list of allegations that came to be know as the matrix.

That list was incomplete.

I know that because my allegation wasn't listed in the matrix.

And that is despite the fact that I made my allegation to the Archdiocese of St. Louis on two separate occasions...

  • 2002 - Timothy Cardinal Dolan
  • 2011 - ArchStL Review Team

2013 May - Failure to Inform and/or Assist

On May 10, 2013 my abuser, Fr. LeRoy Valentine, was permanently removed by Archbishop Robert Carlson and the Archdiocese of St. Louis. At no point before, on, or after this date was I...

  • Informed of this.
  • Warned about this.
  • Offered assistance. Finally.

Needless to say, that act of Gaslighting sent me into a psychological crisis from which I have yet to recover.

2011-15 - Failure to Assist by Hengen

After first blaming everything I was going through on my father, Deacon Phil Hengen eventually asked to speak to my psychologist. However, despite my doing everything that was required, Deacon Hengen never did try to get in touch with my psychologist.

Also, while Deacon Hengen did, on a couple of occasions, ask me to provide him with a Treatment Plan, he never offered to pay for its preparation.

And I certanly didn't have the money to do so.

2011 May 9 - Review Team Meeting

On May 9, 2011 I met with a Review Team, a meeting that itself was a policy violation due to the presence of multiple lawyers for the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

What's more, during that meeting the members of the Review Team informed me that they had no knowledge of my 2002 conversations with Cardinal Dolan and a woman who I suspect was Nancy Brown, meaning that someone -- presumably Cardinal Dolan -- had removed all trace of my existence from the file of Fr. LeRoy Valentine.

2002 March - Violations of A.5 by ++Dolan

I first went to ArchStL for help in early March 2002. Then-bishop and now Cardinal Timothy Dolan called me back. He proceeded to commit a number of violations of Article 5, violations that I document in the piece below...

Among other things, despite the fact that I went to Cardinal Dolan and talked to him about my experiences multiple times, he and the Archdiocese of St. Louis -- then being led by Cardinal Rigali, failed to notify me, much less assist me, when my abuser, Fr. LeRoy Valentine, resigned at the end of March 2002.