A few years ago, I mentioned in this space an ongoing case in St. Louis in which Father Joseph Jiang, a Catholic priest, had been accused of sexual misconduct, and his bishop of covering it up. I am happy to report that Father Jiang has been vindicated in the face of these accusations, and more — a lot more:
An advocacy group has issued an apology to a St. Louis priest for “any false or inaccurate statements” regarding allegations of abuse, after criminal charges against him were dropped and subsequent lawsuits were settled or dismissed.
The Archdiocese of St. Louis published the apology from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) on Monday.
“The SNAP defendants never want to see anyone falsely accused of a crime. Admittedly, false reports of clergy sexual abuse do occur. The SNAP defendants have no personal knowledge as to the complaints against Fr. Joseph Jiang and acknowledge that all matters and claims against Fr. Jiang have either been dismissed or adjudicated in favor of Fr. Jiang,” the group stated.
SNAP also apologized for the harm that false accusations can cause to the priest as well as to the Catholic Church as a whole.
“SNAP apologizes for any false or inaccurate statements related to the complaints against Fr. Joseph Jiang that it or its representatives made which in any way disparaged Fr. Joseph Jiang, Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, Monsignor Joseph D. Pins and the Archdiocese of St. Louis,” the group stated.
A statement from the Archdiocese of St. Louis said the apology was issued “as part of a settlement with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) in a defamation lawsuit filed by Father Jiang in 2015.”
Criminal charges filed against Father Xiu Hui “Joseph” Jiang, after an allegation of abuse, were dismissed in 2015. Jiang had also passed a polygraph test, during which he denied that he had ever abused a minor, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
In 2016, a federal judge ruled that SNAP had made false statements against Fr. Jiang “negligently and with reckless disregard for the truth.”
I didn’t know that. Poor Father Jiang. Another reason to keep in mind that there are two sides of the story in these cases.