Sins of the Fathers > Sins of the Fathers > TOC > VOS ESTIS Violations by ArchStL

February 14, 2020

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 during Face To Face confession, despite which my abuser remains a priest.

Abuse that, at least in part, was witnessed by then Father and now Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York.

I'm writing to let you know that the Archdiocese of St. Louis is 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 — despite the enaction of VOS ESTIS — offer survivors of abuse nothing in terms of help.

Except for thoughts and prayers.

This was confirmed to me during my March 26, 2019 meeting with Archbishop Robert Carlson of the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

Sandra Price: 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.

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 by Sandra Price of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, the Archdiocese of St. Louis has publicly told the people of St. Louis that I'm lying...

…when asked to comment on O’Leary’s account, “The archdiocese’s record of Mr. O’Leary’s allegations are significantly different...” Jones also said the information O’Leary shared initially changed multiple times...

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, clear my name, and restore my reputation.

Much less help me.

What's more, those public denials are now part of a Smear Campaign that involves lying to law enforcement.

And worse.

Back in November, I was violated by an employee 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 nine months after VOS ESTIS went into effect, writing to let you know VOS ESTIS 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?


Chris O'Leary
St. Louis, MO