Bishop W. Shawn McKnight issued the following statement on July 2, 2020:
Today, I am updating the list of priests and religious brothers who have served in the Diocese of Jefferson City and who have been credibly accused of actions that were in violation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
The update includes the addition of John Condit to the list, and the change in status of Robert Duesdieker and Mel Lahr, who are already on the list.
The addition of John Condit to the list is the result of an investigation by the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
Condit, now deceased, was ordained a priest of the archdiocese in 1945.
On June 24 of this year, the archdiocese announced the finding of a substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor by Condit, which allegedly occurred while he was serving as a military chaplain overseas, and as a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
In 1973, Condit, a native of Jefferson City, came to the Diocese of Jefferson City and served as a priest here until his death in 1994.
The parishes where he served — St. Francis Xavier in Taos, Ss. Peter and Paul in Boonville, St. Joseph in Fayette, and St. John in Bahner — were notified the weekend of June 27-28 of this information.
The Diocese of Jefferson City has never received an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor from a survivor in connection with Condit’s service in the diocese.
The removal of Duesdieker and Lahr from the clerical state, commonly known as laicization, is the conclusion of a canonical process that included an independent, internal review of our diocesan files, the consultation of the Diocesan Review Board, and an appeal to the Holy See for a formal decision.
These changes are the direct result of the responses to the initial publication of a list of credibly accused clergy in November 2018.
Because of this transparency, survivors of clerical abuse and their families felt safe to come forward and share their pain, several for the first time in decades.
Their courage allowed me to follow the Church’s process to have Duesdieker and Lahr permanently removed from the clerical state.
This means they are no longer recognized as priests of the Catholic Church.
For too many survivors of sexual abuse, the pain of abuse is still present in their lives. The announcement of this updated list is another effort to assure survivors that they are being heard and that their healing is a top priority for me.
The updated list may be found on our website at diojeffcity.org/clergy-removed-list-7-2-2020.
As a Church, we are committed to a safe, healthy and holy environment for our children. If anyone is aware of any inappropriate behavior toward our children or vulnerable adults, please contact the appropriate Missouri state hotline:
Abuse by a member of the clergy should be reported to the Missouri attorney general at (573) 751-8791.
In addition, please contact our Victim Assistance Coordinator, a licensed professional counselor and a certified clinical trauma professional, Nancy Hoey. You may email her at report email@example.com or call her at (573) 694-3199.
I pray this effort on our part provides some small measure of hope and opens an opportunity for healing to those immediately harmed by sexual abuse.
We are building momentum in ensuring our parishes are places where people can not only be safe from harm, but be centers of charity and mercy, places of growth in the Christian life.