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Criminal charges against Catholic priest dismissed

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(KTVI)-- A Catholic priest accused in 2012 of molesting an underage girl from Lincoln County no longer faces criminal charges.  Pike County Circuit Judge Chris Kunza Mennemeyer threw out the child endangerment charge against Father Xiu Hiu 'Joseph' Jiang on Monday.  That ruling became public Friday.

A statement issued by the court indicates new information shows the defendant (Jiang) was never alone with the alleged victim and therefore a charge of  'child endangerment' was improper.   An associated tampering with a witness charge had to be automatically dismissed once the first charge was dropped.

Lincoln County Prosecutor Leah Askey told FOX2 News the statute of limitations has expired on any misdemeanor charges that might have been considered.   However, she said if new evidence of a felony is obtained, new charges could be filed.

Lucy Hannegan, organizer of the Friends of Father Jiang website, said she and other supporters 'never had any doubts in his innocence so it is no surprise to us.'

David Clohessy, executive director of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said the teenager and her family are 'very, very upset.'  'The victim and the family reported promptly and there is a lot of evidence,  yet still the judge tossed  out the charges so it is very disconcerting,' he added.

He described the evidence as a twenty thousand dollar check from the 'perpetrator to the family'  as well as emails to and from the victim and the perpetrator.  A civil lawsuit filed by the family against the Archdiocese and Archbishop Robert Carlson mentions a family acquaintance who complained to church officials about 'inappropriate behavior' by the priest.

Father Jiang had been assigned to the New Cathedral on Lindell in the Central West End neighborhood of St. Louis.  The alleged victim and her family had been among the parishioners.  He remains suspended.  The St. Louis Archdiocese issued a statement  Friday saying  'The Archdiocesan Review Board, a board comprised of mostly lay and professional men and women, will review the situation at the appropriate time and advise Archbishop Robert J. Carlson on matters related to Fr. Jiang`s current suspended status.'

The same judge who dismissed the criminal charge allowed the alleged victim`s family to amend their civil lawsuit this week.  It remains pending in the Pike County Circuit Court.   The original criminal case had been transferred from Lincoln County to Pike.

Betsey.bruce@tvstl.com
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7 comments

  • ByeByeToTheRite

    Ah, the power of money in America’s justice system. Ah, the power of religious hypocracy in America’s justice system. Money and religion? Go hand-in-hand! That’s the purpose of religion, isn’t it – to distract the masses from the greed of the wealthy? Scorecard this week: TWO murderers and one child abuser set FREE because they had money. In Kennedy’s case, it took $12 MILLION to set that pervert free. But it bought freedom in the end. THIS, my friends, is what we should be concerned about today, not phony cries of socialism and a welfare state, which are about as far from the truth today as any lies can be.

    • rick james

      Just like you. In the box behind everything, havent seen it in a while…. A Tool! All new of his innocents because a lil girl was involed. The man is yellow! Preying on boys is a white thing. Its ok bye bye you can admit it happened to you.

  • Judy Jones

    Our hearts ache for this brave victim and her family. We hope they can “catch their breathe” and know that Jiang’s trial may have been dismissed, but that does not mean that Jiang is innocent.
    How on earth can children be safe if these cases are dismissed on a technicality and not on merit…and then these guys are left to roam free to abuse again.?
    Something to keep in mind-
    Child predators are very cunning and manipulative. They know every trick on how
    to groom, threaten, lie, and put the fear of god into their victims and
    sometimes even their family members.
    They also appear to do a lot of goods things, they can be very charismatic and
    you may think they would never harm a child. They have to be this way, in order
    to not get caught and to continue to abuse

    Sexual predators are often powerful and well-loved. It would be comforting if
    those who preyed on the vulnerable were obvious social misfits whose appearance
    would somehow set off alarm bells and give us the willies or the creeps. They
    rarely do. Usually, predators are among the last people we would suspect of
    sexually violating others. While they are grooming the child and even family members, they
    devote lots of time and energy building trust with them by giving them money and gifts.
    They tend to make the child feel that they are special and loved.

    It takes a lot of courage to come forward and take action about being sexually abused. This is not an easy thing to do, and it is extremely rare that a child predator has only one victim. Some have many. So let’s hope that anyone who may have knowledge or may have been harmed by Fr Jiang, will get help and find the courage and strength to speak up and contact law enforcement, no matter how long ago it happened. Do not report your abuse to the church officials, they are not the proper officials to be investigating child sex crimes.

    Silence only hurts, and by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others.

    Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511. snapjudy@gmail.com,
    “SNAP (The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

  • kay4justice

    Once again, no justice for the victim! Once again, a victim is “thrown away” in favor of a law written to protect a sexually immature predator priest. What’s the deal? Is Jiang a priest ONLY when he is in the church, the school or the rectory? How is this rule in any way credible? Adding insult to injury, supporters of this priest are ecstatic… Those who establish themselves as moral authorities walk close to criminal activity. It is time for antiquated laws to change so that children and immature adults have the capacity within the law to protect themselves. Shame on all involved with this case!

  • Michael Skiendzielewski

    Since 2002, the Catholic faithful here in America have witnessed time and again, the duplicity, insincerity, hypocrisy and untruthful conduct, behavior and decision-making of many of the religious leaders of the dioceses and archdioceses across this country. Over the past several months, Bishop Myers as well as Archbishop Nienstedt in Minneapolis-St. Paul have been shown, via statements, evidence, correspondence, etc., to be unable and unwilling to protect the children and young adults of the Catholic faithful in their charge. Along with Bishop Finn in Kansas City, it is well past the time that any further consideration be given these “leaders” and push for the tough and necessary legislative proposals that will help to protect ALL children, now and in the future.

    Retiring from the field of law enforcement here in Philadelphia, there is nothing better to capture the attention of criminals (in this case, alleged child sexual abusers and conspirators/abettors) than the cold steel of handcuffs, fingerprint ink on the extremities, the spartan and unexciting cuisine of detention centers, and the appropriate fashion statement of the orange wardrobe.

    Michael Skiendzielewski
    Captain (Retired)
    Philadelphia Police Dept.

  • mark

    It’s too bad that some continue to believe that this innocent man is guilty. The evidence clearly shows he is innocent. We all know that abuse cases against the Catholic Church are handled with utmost care by the legal system, and there wasn’t even evidence to even warrant a trial.

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