It was around 5PM on Friday May 10, 2013 when Dr. M, one of
the two psychologists that I was seeing at the time, called me.
I was helping out with the 8th grade play at MQP, working as the
stage manager at the request
of the director, who I had worked with before and whose mother had died a few days before.
As Dr. M had never called me before, I was a bit surprised to
hear from her and confused about why she was calling me. She
asked me how I was doing and then asked me if I had happened to
look at the newpapers. I told her I hadn't and she told me that
she was calling me to warn me.
It turned out that, on Wednesday May 1, 2013, the Archdiocese
of St. Louis had published a
Statement from Archbishop Carlson regarding Fr. Valentine and an
article in the St. Louis Review that said that it had
permanently removed Fr. Leroy Valentine.
May 1, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
With sadness I inform you that an allegation of
sexual abuse of a minor against one of our priests
was found to be substantiated by an
independent Review Board. The board, made up of lay
persons, found the allegations against Fr. LeRoy
Valentine, who served in the archdiocese from
1977-2002 and then retired, to be credible. The
incidents took place in the 1970’s, but were only
recently brought to our attention. In keeping with
the Charter for the Protection of Children and young
People, Fr. Valentine is now permanently removed
from ecclesiastical ministry.
The story wasn't picked up immediately, but on Friday, May
10, 2013 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran a story
and St. Louis' local alternative newspaper, the RiverFront
Times, also published a story.
The Post-Dispatch piece was entitled
Long road toward priest's removal and said the
(The Archdiocese of St. Louis) issued a statement from Phil Hengen, director of
its Child and Youth Protection office, who said the recent,
credible allegation took place in 1978.
The allegation involved “inappropriate touching of a minor”
and the archdiocese learned of it last summer, Hengen said
in the statement.
Riverfront Times piece was entitled
LeRoy Valentine: Decades After First Alleged Child Sex
Abuse, St. Louis Priest Removed and reprinted Hengen's
entire statement, including the following...
In 2002, additional allegations of misconduct
dating back to the 1980's were made. Although
they were not substantiated, Father Valentine
resigned his position at St. Thomas the Apostle
and retired from public ministry. He lived in a
private residence from 2002-2005 and then moved
to a retirement home in 2005.
The recent allegation, that was found to be
credible, took place in 1978. The allegation
involved inappropriate touching of a minor and
was first made to archdiocesan officials in the
Summer of 2012. An investigation began
immediately. The Review Board concluded its
process with Archbishop Carlson's announcement
of Fr. Valentine's permanent removal from public
ministry on May 1, 2013.
That day had a devastating impact on me because I now believe
it represented an effort by the Archdiocese of St. Louis to