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

April 15, 2020

Pope Francis
The Vatican

Holy Father,

I'm a survivor in St. Louis, MO and I'm writing to make you aware of violations of Vos Estis Lux Mundi by the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

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 the sacrament of confession.

Abuse that was witnessed, at least in part, 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 of all, 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.

The ONLY thing they will do is, if a survivor doesn't have a therapist, they will refer you to one.

But they don't pay for therapy.

Or anything.

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 one of my previous letters, which Cardinal Sean O'Malley told me he was going to deliver to you in September 2019.

Letter from Cardinal Sean OMalley

However, I've heard nothing from you in reply.

In case there's any doubt, understand that my abuse was privately acknowledged by Sandra Price of the Archdiocese of St. Louis in an e-mail.

February 5, 2018
Hi Chris,
I wanted to respond to you on behalf of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis.
You chose to litigate your claims of sexual abuse by Rev. Leroy Valentine. YOUR CLAIMS WERE ACKNOWLEDGED by Deacon Phil Hengen, the Archdiocese of Saint Louis...

Please know that YOU AND ALL VICTIMS OF ABUSE are in my prayers...
I wish you the best.
Sandra Price
Archdiocese of St. Louis

 It was also implicitly acknowledged by Archbishop Carlson in granting my request to meet with me.

And in his opening words...

AbpC: Well, first of all, thank you for coming.
CO: Yeah.
AbpC: And, uh, I know that…because I’ve met with many other victims, that can be a challenging time.
CO: Right.
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 there can be healing in your own life with…With the God who created you and who loves you.

I'll point out that, to my point, in his last comment, Archbishop Carlson explicitly refused to do anything to help me.

In violation of VOS ESTIS, the Archdiocese of St. Louis has run, and continues to run, a Smear Campaign against me; they have 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, the Archdiocese of St. Louis has lied to law enforcement.

And worse.

Back in November 2019, I was violated by an employee of the Archdiocese of St. Louis during the course of a prayer service for survivors.

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