Fr. Robert J. Vonnahmen: Allegations of Sexual Abuse of a Minor Have Been Admitted, Established or Determined to Be Credible

Fr. Robert J. Vonnahmen

Ordained: 1956

  • 1957-1964: St. Philip’s, East St. Louis, IL (BEL)
  • 1965-1982: St. Joseph’s, Elizabethtown, IL (BEL)
  • 1983-1985: Unknown
  • 1986-1993: St. Joseph, Elizabethtown, IL (BEL)
  • 1994-2000: Leave of Absence (BEL)
  • 1995: Golden Frontier, Belleville, IL (BEL)
  • 2001-2007: Retired (BEL)
  • 2008-2019: Unknown

Fr. Robert J. Vonnahmen has been named in at least four civil lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse. It is alleged that at least one instance of sexual abuse of a minor occurred at Camp Ondessonk, a Catholic youth camp in Southern Illinois. According to one lawsuit, Fr. Vonnahmen showed the boy pornography and manipulated the boy’s genitals before sodomizing him. It is also alleged that Fr. Vonnahmen told the boy not to tell anyone, otherwise he would start a building on fire and blame it on the boy. Another victim was allegedly sexually abused when she was six years old at St. Philip’s Church in East St. Louis. She alleged that Fr. Vonnahmen used his position as a priest to force sexual intercourse. It is believed that Fr. Vonnahmen was laicized in 2007 and died in 2016. In 2018, Fr. Vonnahmen was included on the Diocese of Belleville’s list of “Clergy who are Currently Removed from Ministry after Credibly Substantiated Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors, or Serious Sexual Misconduct with Adults.” Fr. Vonnahmenn’s whereabouts and whether he had access to children from 1994 until his death are unknown.