Sins of the Fathers > Sins of the Fathers > TOC > May 10, 2013

It was around 5PM on Friday May 10, 2013 when Dr. M, one of the two psychologists that I was seeing at the time, called me. I was helping out with the 8th grade play at MQP, working as the stage manager at the request of the director, who I had worked with before and whose mother had died a few days before.

As Dr. M had never called me before, I was a bit surprised to hear from her and confused about why she was calling me. She asked me how I was doing and then asked me if I had happened to look at the newpapers. I told her I hadn't and she told me that she was calling me to warn me.

It turned out that, on Wednesday May 1, 2013, the Archdiocese of St. Louis had published a Statement from Archbishop Carlson regarding Fr. Valentine and an article in the St. Louis Review that said that it had permanently removed Fr. Leroy Valentine.

May 1, 2013
With sadness I inform you that an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against one of our priests was found to be substantiated by an independent Review Board. The board, made up of lay persons, found the allegations against Fr. LeRoy Valentine, who served in the archdiocese from 1977-2002 and then retired, to be credible. The incidents took place in the 1970’s, but were only recently brought to our attention. In keeping with the Charter for the Protection of Children and young People, Fr. Valentine is now permanently removed from ecclesiastical ministry.

The story wasn't picked up immediately, but on Friday, May 10, 2013 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran a story and St. Louis' local alternative newspaper, the RiverFront Times, also published a story.

The Post-Dispatch piece was entitled Long road toward priest's removal and said the following...

(The Archdiocese of St. Louis) issued a statement from Phil Hengen, director of its Child and Youth Protection office, who said the recent, credible allegation took place in 1978.
The allegation involved “inappropriate touching of a minor” and the archdiocese learned of it last summer, Hengen said in the statement.

The Riverfront Times piece was entitled LeRoy Valentine: Decades After First Alleged Child Sex Abuse, St. Louis Priest Removed and reprinted Hengen's entire statement, including the following...

In 2002, additional allegations of misconduct dating back to the 1980's were made. Although they were not substantiated, Father Valentine resigned his position at St. Thomas the Apostle and retired from public ministry. He lived in a private residence from 2002-2005 and then moved to a retirement home in 2005.

The recent allegation, that was found to be credible, took place in 1978. The allegation involved inappropriate touching of a minor and was first made to archdiocesan officials in the Summer of 2012. An investigation began immediately. The Review Board concluded its process with Archbishop Carlson's announcement of Fr. Valentine's permanent removal from public ministry on May 1, 2013.

That day had a devastating impact on me because I now believe it represented an effort by the Archdiocese of St. Louis to Gaslight me.