The Archdiocese of St. Louis canceled a priest’s new parish appointment after outcry from parents over past accusations his alleged misconduct with children.
Catholic leadership had appointed Rev. Xiu Hui “Joseph” Jiang as the associate pastor of St. Gabriel the Archangel Parish, according to the St. Louis-Post Dispatch. The parish, however, has an elementary and middle school, and parents decried the decision and called for a cancellation of Jiang’s appointment when they found out that Jiang had in the past been accused of molesting a 16-year-old girl and of statutory sodomy of a boy under 14 years of age, according to The Associated Press.
Courts declared Jiang innocent and acquitted him of the charges in both cases. The archdiocese announced Wednesday that they canceled Jiang’s appointment to the parish nonetheless, given parish parents’ concerns and the fresh wounds the Catholic Church has suffered from child abuse scandals, most recently in Chile and Australia. (RELATED: Pope Francis Promises ‘Never Again’ Will Chilean Catholics Suffer Abuse And Cover-Ups)
“While there is no reason Fr. Jiang could not or should not be assigned to a parish with a school, at the same time, I realize that very few priests have been exonerated in the courts as has Fr. Jiang,” St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson wrote in a letter, according to the AP. “Unfortunately, the level of your concern is a sign of the healing which still needs to take place in the Church when dealing with historical abuse.”
Jiang will remain in his current assignment at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, a spokesman for the archdiocese said.
Jiang and the archdiocese faced charges in 2013 from a family who alleged that Jiang had molested their daughter. The jury ruled in Jiang’s favor in 2017. Jiang also faced charges from another family in 2014 who alleged that he sodomized their son at Cathedral Basilica’s elementary school. The court dropped the criminal charges in 2017 and Jiang sued Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests and the alleged victim’s mother. The victims’ group settled with Jiang in 2017 and publicly apologized to him.
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