Sins of the Fathers
ChrisOLeary.com > Sins of the Fathers > TOC > VOS ESTIS Violations by ArchStL

December 2, 2019

Pope Francis
The Vatican

Holy Father,

I am a survivor of abuse in St. Louis, MO.

I was sexually exploited, abused, and assaulted -- raped -- by Fr. LeRoy Valentine at the Church of the Immacolata in Richmond Heights, MO, a suburb of St. Louis, in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Abuse that started during Face To Face confession and that, at least in part, was witnessed by then Father and now...

I'm writing to let you know that the Archdiocese of St. Louis is in knowing and willful violation of multiple aspects of VOS ESTIS LUX MUNDI, particularly...

Art. 5 – Care for persons
1. ...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...
c) offered medical assistance, including therapeutic and psychological assistance...
2. The good name and the privacy of the persons involved, as well as the confidentiality of their personal data, shall be protected.

First, and most grievously, as the Archdiocese of St. Louis makes clear on its own website, they -- still, despite the enaction of VOS ESTIS -- offer survivors of abuse nothing but thoughts and prayers...

I confirmed that when my archbishop (finally) agreed to meet with me...

I explained all this to you in my previous letter, which I believe Cardinal Sean O'Malley delivered personally in September 2019.

However, I've heard nothing in reply.

Second, while my abuse was privately acknowledged, it was publicly denied by the Archdiocese of St. Louis...

Despite the enaction of VOS ESTIS and my having made multiple personal appeals to him both before and after June 1, 2019, Archbishop Carlson refuses to retract the lies and false allegations, clear my name, and restore my reputation.

Much less help me.

What's more, those public denials are now part of a...

And worse.

Just a few weeks ago, at prayer service for survivors, I was subjected to...

...by a member of the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

Since 2017, I've been trying to make the Church and you aware of problems with how the Archdiocese of St. Louis treats survivors...

But I've never received a reply.

Much less help.

So here I am again, coming up on six months after VOS ESTIS went into effect, writing to let you know it is not working in the Archdiocese of St. Louis; it has had no effect on the treatment of survivors by Archbishop Robert Carlson and ArchStL.

I'm survivor who's lost EVERYTHING at the hands of the Catholic Church, both back then and more recently.

PLEADING with you to help me.

And us.

But will you?

AMDG

Chris O'Leary
St. Louis, MO

VOS ESTIS Violations by ArchStL

The problem is that the Archdiocese of St. Louis and Archbishop Robert Carlson, even after VOS ESTIS went into effect, continue to...

  1. Believe they are under no obligation to help survivors.
  2. Mistreat and abuse survivors.

What is needed is a VOS ESTIS investigation of Archbishop Robert Carlson, the Archdiocese of St. Louis (ArchStL), and the hierarchy of the Church itself, including the Papal Nuncio to the United States.

Present Violations Of Vos Estis

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

I have since transcribed that recording...

I gave ArchStL three months to act on or even just respond to the requests I made during that meeting; requests to end the Smear Campaign they are running against me, among other things.

When they didn't, I made the recording and transcript public.

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

Failure to Offer Survivors Assistance

As Sandra Price established during my March 26, 2019 meeting with Archbishop Carlson and her, the Archdiocese 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 Archbishop 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.

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.

False Allegations of "Terroristic Threats"

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

However, during a March 26, 2019 meeting, Sandra Price admitted that those allegations were baseless...

SandraPrice: What happened… We had employees in our building who were aware of your Twitter account and saw some of the posts related to the Rock Salt and the Shotgun thing, which to me was very vague, but people were concerned...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 and, despite my informing Archbishop Carlson of the Smear Campaign ArchStL is waging against me, and asking him to end it, back on March 26, 2019, he hasn't.

Smear Campaign as 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.

Stonewalling

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

Too often, it's because of...

 ...which 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...

MONDAY, JUNE 3, 2019 8:30 AM
Meeting with Archbishop Carlson

FROM: Chris O'Leary
TO: sandraprice@archstl.org

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

Thanks!

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

FROM: Chris O'Leary
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
TUESDAY, JUNE 18, 2019 3:15 PM
Follow-Up Meeting with Abp Carlson

FROM: Chris O'Leary
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 the e-mails I sent after the June 1, 2019 effective date for VOS ESTIS went unanswered. And, worse -- because they feed my mental illnesses and make me question my existence -- unacknowledged. And the Archdiocese of St. Louis has employed this tactic against me since 2011.

Threatening Confidentiality of Survivors

On July 1, 2019 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 extortion.

Cutting Off Contact with Survivors

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.

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?

Historical Violations Of Vos Estis

I don't know if VOS ESTIS can be applied retroactively.

If it can be, then I am aware of a number of violations.

Timothy Cardinal Dolan

As I explain in my discussion of my experiences with...

...he failed me on multiple occasions.

From 1977-1979, then Father Dolan saw at least some of what Fr. LeRoy Valentine was doing to us. I don't know what Fr. Dolan did or said, but I do know that nothing changed.

When I went to ArchStL for help in early March 2002, then-Bishop Dolan called me back. That itself is a conflict of interest.

Then, after I told Bishop Dolan what I remembered, he immediately -- without ANY investigation -- told me that my memories didn't mean anything.

Bishop Dolan and the Archdiocese of St. Louis -- then 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.

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.

Archbishop Robert Carlson

According the Archdiocese of St. Louis, and as is documented by my recording of my March 26, 2019 meeting with Archbishop Carlson, their only obligation to survivors is to provide survivors with the name of a psychologist. While that would explain their inaction, I don't understand the justification for what I call the...

1. In 2011 and the following years, after first blaming everything I was going through on my father, Deacon Phil Hengen -- the representative of the Archdiocese of St. Louis who I was working with -- 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.

2. 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.

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

3. 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 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

4. 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?