ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - A St. Louis priest was charged Friday with sexually abusing a child inside a school near the Cathedral Basilica on Lindell Blvd. 31-year old Father Xiuhui 'Joseph' Jiang faces two counts of statutory sodomy in the first degree. St. Louis City Circuit Court documents describe the victim as a boy under the age of 14.
This is the second time Jiang has been accused of sexual contact with a minor. In 2012 Lincoln County charged him with molesting a teenage girl. Those charges were dropped in November 2013 when the prosecutor was unable to show he had ever been alone with the girl. Critics believe the decision was based on 'legal technicalities.'
The girl and her parents continue to pursue a civil lawsuit against the St. Louis Archdiocese and Archbishop Robert Carlson.
The St. Louis Archdiocese issued a statement questioning the validity of the new criminal charges and saying the child`s family had been pursuing a claim other students had bullied him for more than a year. "The family had never claimed that their child was abused by a priest until this week," the statement said.
Lucy Hannegan, who organized a website 'Friends of Father Jiang,' said "We know the man and there`s nothing to indicate he would do anything untoward." She believes people are after money from Jiang or the Archdiocese.
Barbara Dorris, SNAP Outreach Director, disagrees. "There are far easier ways to get money than to try to attack the church," she said. She wants to know why the Catholic Church did not send Jiang to a restricted treatment facility to keep him away from children.
Court documents indicate the alleged abuse occurred between July of 2011 and August 1, 2012. Dorris is not sure when the first criminal charges were filed in Lincoln County. But she said, "If this child was hurt during the two years these charges have been out there then that lands squarely on Archbishop Carlson that he allowed this man freedom when he should have been far less reckless and put the safety of the children first."
Friday night Jiang was being held in the St. Louis City Justice Center on a $150,000 cash only bond.
The Archdiocese encourages any reports of misconduct involving minors be reported to Deacon Phil Hengen, Director of Child and Youth Protection at 314-792-7704 or law enforcement officials.
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