Father Alexander Lippert, a Catholic priest who served in eleven St. Louis-area parishes over 33 years, sexually abused a minor in the 1970s, according to the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
Archbishop Robert Carlson says a report accusing Lippert of abusing a minor is credible, the archdiocese announced last week. Since Lippert died in April 2000 and can't respond to the allegations, the archdiocese has officially ruled the report of sexual abuse as "credible though unsubstantiated."
The archdiocese did not release details about the abuse or the victim, who was a minor at the time.
The archdiocese said it would post bulletins about the allegations against Lippert in the parishes where he served or resided. Lippert was assigned to Holy guardian Angels parish in south St. Louis in April 1956; Immaculate Conception in Union in July 1959; St. Liborius in north St. Louis in 1961; St. Teresa in north St. Louis in 1963; St. Ferdinand in Florissant in 1965; St. Aloysius in Spanish Lake in May 1968; St. Paul the Apostle in Pine Lawn (resided, during leave of absence) in July 1970; Basilica of St. Louis, King of France (Old Cathedral) in Downtown St. Louis in June 1980; St. Catherine of Alexandria in Coffman in November 1980; St. Ambrose in south St. Louis in May 1983; and St. Thomas of Aquin in south St. Louis in April 1986.
The archdiocese says the abuse occurred in the early 1970s, when Lippert was living in Pine Lawn. Lippert took a sick leave in July 1988, retired in January 1991 and died nine years later, according to the archdiocese.
But posting bulletins to the churches where Lippert served isn't enough, say advocates at Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a leading local group working to expose abuse in the church. The group wants the archdiocese to read the bulletin from church pulpits so other possible victims can come forward to police.
"Today's disclosure is a tiny, belated and begrudging step forward down a long, long road," SNAP says in a statement. "Disclosing the identity of predators is a bare minimum first step. Catholic officials -- past and present -- must do much more to warn parishioners and the public about child molesting clerics and aggressively seek out and support those who could put those predators behind bars -- victims, witnesses and whistleblowers."
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