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Documents offer glimpse of correspondence

Documents offer glimpse of correspondence

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The church documents offer a glimpse inside the archdiocese, showing correspondence between archdiocesan leaders and therapists, as well as letters from victims and the priests. A look at two cases:

The Rev. Norman Christian

1985-1986 • Goes to a treatment facility for troubled priests at the Servants of the Paraclete in Jemez Springs, N.M.

Feb. 25, 1986 • Then-Archbishop John L. May writes a letter indicating that he has received a report from the facility evaluating Christian's progress. In the letter May writes: “In accordance with Father Christian’s wishes I have destroyed the report immediately after reading it very carefully.”

1986 • Christian returns to ministry at St. Adalbert Church.

1995 • Christian writes that he will be taking "a leave-of-absence from all ministry to take whatever steps are needed to heal the brokenness." Years later, in a press release, archdiocese says Christian was removed in 1995 after an allegation of the abuse of a minor surfaced.

1996 • A Kenrick-Glennon Seminary advisory committee recommends that Christian not be returned to ministry. Christian admitted to molesting approximately 12 people between 1963 and 1986, the report says. They note that a ministry without access to minors doesn't exist: “As a practical matter, it is not really possible to restrict a priest's contact with young people, if they seek him out or he seeks them out.”

2004 • Christian dies of kidney and liver failure at a nursing home. He is never formally laicized.

The Rev. Donald J. “Duck” Straub

1978 • Straub signs a confession admitting to sexually abusing several boys.

1987 • After Straub undergoes therapy, May brings up the idea of laicizing Straub to the St. Luke Institute. The idea is dropped after Straub makes progress due, in part, to a daily dose of Depo-Provera, a drug that has been used to chemically castrate sex offenders.

Director of Personnel Resources the Rev. Thomas J. Santen raises questions about Straub and the welfare of the church. He asks what would happen if someone came forward after Straub's return. “Is he, are we covered by virtue of the therapy? What is the risk level here? ... As far as I can tell, he has been sexually active in all his assignments.”

1989 • Straub again admits to a series of sexual assaults. An unsigned memo to May discusses keeping any new job quiet. “I think that any such assignment should not be published so as not to waken sleeping dogs.”

1990 • Straub is assigned to a parish in Dodge City, Kan. He is suspended again after reports of "strange behavior," unrelated to sexual abuse, is reported.

2005 • Straub is laicized.

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