ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - As parishioners left mass Sunday at the Cathedral Basilica, members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused By Priests, handed out fliers about recent allegations involving a Chinese priest serving the St. Louis region. Father Joseph Jiang is charged with four counts of sexual abuse against a girl in Lincoln County. He’s also charged with witness tampering because Jiang allegedly offered $20,000 in what prosecutors call hush money to the victim’s family.
The fliers encouraged any additional victims to come forward and encouraged Archbishop Robert Carlson to actively participate in the criminal investigation. There have been allegations that the archbishop may have tried to cover up the priest’s alleged crimes.
In response, the Archdiocese of St. Louis released the following statement Sunday:
As was reported in a statement dated June 27, 2012, the Archdiocese of St. Louis encourages anyone who wishes to report sexual abuse of a minor by Father Joseph Jiang or by any other priest, deacon or employee of the Archdiocese of St. Louis to contact Deacon Phil Hengen, Director of Child and Youth Protection, at 314.792.7704 or the civil authorities. Reports may also be made to the Missouri Division of Social Services Child Abuse Hotline at 800.392.3738.
The Archdiocese of St. Louis is fully cooperating with authorities in this investigation and makes no presumption of innocence or guilt with regard to the charges filed against Father Jiang. We only presume that this is a matter that necessitates prayer, certainly for the alleged victim, but also for Father Jiang and for everyone involved.