Title: Lessons learned: St. Louis archbishop-elect leaves a community still reeling from a bombshell report on clergy sex abuse
ST. LOUIS — A narrator’s voice on a show about the Sistine Chapel triggered John Doe’s memories of horror he experienced as a 9-year-old altar boy. He survived being gang raped and other abuses by Roman Catholic clergy that were so traumatic they took some 50 years to resurface.Doe ultimately wanted the Springfield Diocese in western Massachusetts to know what had been done to him in the early 1960s — not just by rank-and-file priests, but by the late Bishop Christopher J. Weldon, whose reputation was still untarnished from leading the diocese from 1950 to 1977.
Doe’s quest for justice, however, would victimize him even more. It took six years for his story to be validated, and only after initial investigations by church officials were found to be rife with mistakes and possible deception.
The case is relevant here because it offers a window into the leadership style of St. Louis Archbishop-elect Mitchell T. Rozanski. He has been bishop of the Springfield diocese since Doe first reported his claim there.
“I want to apologize for the chronic mishandling of this case, time and time again since 2014,” Rozanski said at a news conference in June. “At almost every instance, we have failed this courageous man who nonetheless persevered thanks in part to a reliable support network as well to a deep desire for a just response for the terrible abuse which he endured.”
Many apologies and promises have been made to try to rebuild credibility since the clergy sex abuse scandal erupted in Boston in 2002. New rules were adopted that year to establish a better infrastructure to deal with abuse claims.