Sins of the Fathers > Sins of the Fathers > Letter to St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Something strange is going on in St. Louis.

And Missouri.

While law enforcement.

And the press.

While attornies general all over the country are investigating the Catholic Church, I've been unimpressed by Missouri Attorney Eric Schmitt's, and before him Josh Hawley's, investigation of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. I was interviewed, but was left with the impression that the investigator — who was Catholic — didn't want to know the worst stuff. In fact, he told me he didn't want to hear about the cover-up, just my abuse.

The same is true of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. While Aisha Sultan did help me tell my story, and the editors did initially seem to be doing their job, of late the Post-Dispatch has gone quiet.

And worse.

Are they trying to protect the Archdiocese of St. Louis? And the Catholic Church?

Are they afraid to tell people — especially Catholics — what they know they don't want to hear?

I don't know.

But their questionable actions prompted my July 4, 2019 letter to the editors of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

To the Editors,
I finally summoned the courage to read the hagiography of Archbishop Robert Carlson in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, After a decade leading St. Louis Catholics, Archbishop Robert Carlson prepares to step down, and must express my feelings given my VERY present experiences with Archbishop Carlson and the Archdiocese of St. Louis, including a threat Sandra Price of ArchStL issued to me on July 1st.
As you know, I’m a survivor of abuse by a priest.
When I was a child, I was sexually exploited, abused, and assaulted — raped — by Fr. LeRoy Valentine, at the Church of the Immacolata in Richmond Heights, from 1977-1981. Then, when I went to the Archdiocese of St. Louis for help in early March 2002, and St. Louis’ own Timothy Cardinal Dolan returned my call, things got REALLY bad.
On March 26, 2019, I met with Archbishop Carlson of the Archdiocese of St. Louis and informed him of, and asked him to end, the smear campaign ArchStL is running against me; a campaign begun in your paper in a 2018 piece by Aisha Sultan that discussed my experiences.
The response of ArchStL to my pleas had been only stonewalling.
Now, it’s escalated to intimidation in the form of a threat to reveal confidential information ArchStL apparently possesses about me.
A threat that quite literally scared me shi…
I understand St. Louis Catholics want to believe Archbishop Carlson and the Archdiocese of St. Louis are among the (few) heroes, but my experience, and the experiences of other survivors, make one thing clear.
Archbishop Carlson and the Archdiocese of St. Louis are ANYTHING BUT heroes.
You are risking your credibility in joining Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s apparent efforts to carry water for the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
In trying to defend the indefensible.
Chris O'Leary
St. Louis, MO