A former monk, who describes himself as a “fixer” for the Catholic Church, said his job was to clean up messes left by reports of sexual abuse in Missouri.
“Every one of my assignments was to follow a monk who had been credibly accused of child sexual assault and they had to remove him because the knowledge became public,” Patrick Wall told Fox2 NOW in St. Louis.. “It really wasn’t until years later that I began to have an understanding of what my assignments were. They were just one following another, and I would say until 1996 or ’97, I didn’t understand essentially what I was assigned to do time after time after time.”
This realization eventually caused him to leave the Catholic Church, he says.
“That’s when awareness came that this huge dilemma and disaster of childhood sexual assault by priests was not going to end, and that’s when I made the personal decision, I couldn’t support it any longer,” Wall said. “There was no way to take away that pain. You can’t eat that pain. There’s no way to give them any solace, because leadership was not going to acknowledge number one, publicly, that it happened.”
After leaving the church, Wall started working with attorneys who sue on behalf of children who say they’ve been abused within the Catholic Church. He says many of the accused priests are finding homes around the St. Louis area.
“Missouri law has been very favorable to the church,” Wall said. “That’s why these facilities pop up.”
Wall now fights for victims in civil court. “That’s the most effective way to get anything done,” he said. “The church has proven since the 1980s that it can’t discipline itself, and so the only way to do it is with civil authorities.”
The Catholic Church has recently been revealing names of priests with credible accusations and in some cases telling us where they are. There is also a new search engine by ProPublica, where anyone can look up details on priests based on documents the church has released.