DITTMER, Mo. – Dallas police arrested an accused sex offender priest in Dittmer, Missouri on Wednesday, at a retreat where priests and former priests get help and rehabilitation.
The Catholic property is owned by Servants of the Paraclete, which has a mission of providing a safe and supportive environment for rehabbing priests.
Richard Thomas Brown, 78, was wanted on charges related to his reported abuse of as many as 50 children between 1980 and 1994.
Michael Stenzhorn, who lives across the street from the Catholic property, said he’s used to it.
“I sent the Archbishop a letter last year and told him about the pedophiles walking up my neighbor’s driveway,” he said.
Stenzhorn said the church has bought every house around his.
“They have taken care of both my neighbors financially but they’re not doing it to me,” he said. “They’re offering me a lot less than my neighbors got.”
Stenzhorn said he feels stuck.
“What am I going to do – sell it to a young couple with kids?” he said.
The Dittmer retreat is one of many places in the St. Louis area where accused priests live and receive assistance.
In May 2019, Fox 2 told you about Jesuit Hall near the SLU campus, where we found Paul Pilgram was living after the church included his name on a list of Jesuits with credible accusations of sex abuse.
Mike Sullivan complained about him 45 years ago – and confronted Pilgram again in our Fox Files investigation.
“He’s still on the Jesuit’s dime. It says he lives under supervision but, you know, frankly, if the guy was a lay teacher he would’ve gone to jail,” Sullivan said.
Last August, we told you about former priest Norman Christian, who once lived under the church at Regina Clery in Webster Groves after years of molestation allegations.
“The church wouldn’t do anything about it,” said Carol Kuhnert, Christian’s sister.
Kuhnert wrote the book “No Longer on Pedestals” about how her brother escaped scrutiny by going to Catholic rehab centers. She explained how the church would say, “Tell them you’re sick. They suggested that. Say the stress is bad.”
Kuhnert said that her brother also lived for years at the Dittmer facility where a former priest, Richard Brown, was arrested on Wednesday.