ST. LOUIS, MO - Skepticism surrounds the Missouri Attorney General's plan to investigate clergy abuse within the Archdiocese after the announcement came following an invitation from the archbishop. Survivors of clergy abuse and their advocates are calling this an attempt by the archdiocese to control the facts.
Archbishop Robert Carlson invited Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley to review the archdiocese’s files of priest sexual abuse promising unfettered access.
“I don’t believe them," said Chris Wimmer, a survivor of clergy abuse. "The fact that it’s an invitation, and they’re going to divulge everything. I just flat don’t believe them.”
Wimmer attended Chaminade College Preparatory School from 1970 to 1977. According to Wimmer, he was abused by two clergy members.
“A lot of the abuse at Chaminade was in the open by a man in a locker room. He was abusing multiple children at the same time,” said Wimmer. “I know a hundred kids from my class who saw what I saw and haven’t said a thing. People just don’t talk about this.”
As an adult, Wimmer began to process the abuse. He said he asked to speak with a priest at Chaminade about what he went through. Wimmer said long before money was ever mentioned, he felt like they were trying to silence him.
“I was presented with a release where I had to say I was never going to sue them, and it was pages long of all the things I couldn’t do or say that I had to sign before I could even meet with a priest,” he said.
“Their tactics on the ground are to brutalize, re-victimize, scorched earth tactics," saidNicole Gorovsky, Wimmer's attorney.
Gorovsky began taking on clergy abuse cases in 2011 and said she has seen various forms of intimidation and manipulation that clergy use to silence their victims.
Later, Wimmer asked Chaminade for $9,000 to cover the cost of professional therapy. He said the priests refused and offered to counsel him themselves.
"If we were talking about cars like Volkswagens and bad diesel engines, people would be going, ‘Of course, you deserve this money. Of course, you deserve this help. You got a bad car.’ But that is not how this is looked at by the faithful, by the clergy, by the law.”
Wimmer’s case was dismissed by the courts because the statute of limitations had passed.