ST. LOUIS–(MO)–Archbishop Robert Carlson is named in a civil suit, accusing him of attempted tampering with physical evidence in the case of a priest accused of sexual misconduct.
The suit alleges Carlson telephoned the mother of a Lincoln county teenaged girl — a girl under the age of seventeen — who had reportedly been molested by Father Joseph Jiang. The suit claims Carlson asked the mother to give to him a check for $20,000 Jiang had reportedly placed on the family’s car.
“This suggests the Archbishop was possibly attempting to coverup the crime of trying to buy off the parents,” said an attorney for the girl’s family, Ken Chackes.
Chackes says the check appeared after the parents of the girl had discovered the abuse, confronted Jiang, and he admitted it. Instead of handing over the check to Carlson, the family gave the check as evidence to police. Jiang was then charged with sexual misconduct and witness tampering.
“We’d like to know whose bank account was on that check, who wrote it. We haven’t seen the check,” Chackes said, “We’d like to know how Father Jiang was able to get a hold of $20,000.”
The suit accuses Carlson of “negligent supervision” of Jiang, who according to the suit, was assigned from China to stay with then Bishop Carlson in Saginaw, Michigan — then transferred with Carlson to St. Louis and lived in the Bishop’s private residence in St. Louis.
From his residence on Archdiocese property, the suit alleges Jiang sent the girl several emails, which her family later discovered, confronted Father Jiang “about the abuse of their daughter and he admitted that it happened.”
“Archbishop Carlson soon called the Plaintiff parents,” the suit alleges, “and told them that Father Jiang had admitted wrongdoing. During the conversation, Plaintiff Jane Doe asked Carlson if Jiang would be removed from the priesthood and Archbishop Carlson responded that he would remove Jiang if he ‘had sex’ with the child, but not for activities other than that. Archbishop Carlson then suggested that the Plaintiffs parents return to him the check that Father Jiang had left on their car.”
The suit accuses Carlson of “attempted tampering with evidence.”
“Archbishop Carlson, in suggesting that the minor Plaintiff’s parents return Father Jiang’s check to him, committed the criminal offense of attempted tampering with physical evidence,” the suit claims.
The Archdiocese issued a standard response Wednesday saying it does not comment on pending litigation. On Thursday the Archdiocese released an updated statement:
“We have now seen a copy of the lawsuit. These new allegations against the Archdiocese of St. Louis and Archbishop Carlson are false and will be denied in an answer to the lawsuit filed in court.”
KMOX was awaiting a response to the suit from an attorney for Jiang. Paul D’ Agrossa.