ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) - A lawyer for St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson defended the church leader Wednesday saying his reputation had been tarnished by statements taken out of context.
This came after a firestorm of public criticism over Carlson’s testimony regarding child sex abuse in a thirty year old case against a Minnesota priest. Attorney Charles Goldberg described the archbishop as a “leader” in combating child abuse by clergy. At the time, Carlson was part of the leadership of the Catholic Church in Minneapolis-St. Paul.
The video showing segments of Carlson’s sworn testimony regarding the Minnesota case was released by lawyers for the plaintiff. Goldberg said it was taken out of context and the questions really referred to whether Carlson knew at the time if it was a crime to fail to report abuse of children to law enforcement.
St. Louis critics of Carlson gathered outside the New Cathedral Wednesday afternoon calling on him to show transparency regarding abusive clergy within the St. Louis Catholic Church. Catholic Ellen Prendergast of Old Monroe urged “good” priests to demand the bad ones be removed. “I can’t stand that the good priests continue to let the bad priests and their past and even their present be covered up,” she said.
Linda Briggs-Harty, a member of the church from Brentwood, said, “I don’t know if he should step down or not but people need to start looking at the fact this is absolutely ridiculous to be talking like this as a moral leader.”
Paul Alvino, who challenged the Archdiocese in Missouri Courts, lost when the state court of appeals ruled the abuse happened at a cabin owned by a priest and not on church property and therefore the Archdiocese had no responsibility for the actions of its employee.
“They spent well over a million dollars defending themselves against me and they admit it…they believed me they said it was true and they put me through hell,” Alvino told the protestors. “This is the way they treat people,” he added.
The director of SNAP, Survivors of those Abused by Priests, David Clohessy criticized Carlson for promising to be open and transparent and yet breaking those promises. Clohessy challenged Carlson to debate his track record on child abuse cases in public.
To read Archbishop Carlson’s deposition and that of the former Minnesota priest in question Thomas Adamson go to www.andersonadvocates.com.