Metro-East News

Former East St. Louis priest named on list of Jesuits accused of sexually abusing children

SNAP supporters protest diocese in Belleville

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) protestors were outside the Belleville diocese Wednesday due to five former Belleville Oblate priests “credibly accused” of sexually abusing minors.
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Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) protestors were outside the Belleville diocese Wednesday due to five former Belleville Oblate priests “credibly accused” of sexually abusing minors.

A priest with ties to a parish in East St. Louis has been named on a list of Jesuits accused of sexually abusing children.

Chester E. Gaiter died in August 2010 at the age of 70, but was assigned to five schools and parishes in the St. Louis area, including at St. Joseph’s Parish in East St. Louis.

The Jesuits U.S. Central and Southern Province released the names of dozens of priests with ties to the St. Louis area.

Gaiter served at St. Joseph’s Church for a year beginning in 1993, according to a previous report by the Belleville News-Democrat.

The Jesuits estimate Gaiter abused children between the 1970s and 1980s. He was never removed from the ministry. At the time the allegations were made, Gaiter was mentally incapacitated.

St__Louis_Post_Dispatch_Fri__Oct_20__1978_.jpg
This screenshot of the Friday, Oct. 20, 1978 issue of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch features an interview with Charles E. Gaiter, who was later named on a list of Jesuit priests accused of sexually abusing children. Newspapers.com screenshot

In 2007, a man accused Gaiter and three other priests of molesting him, according to a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from the time. Gaiter had already retired when he was accused of the abuse. Three of the priests, including Gaiter, were teachers at Cardinal Ritter High School in St. Louis.

The archdiocese settled that case settlement with payments totaling $140,000 and a written apology to the victim and his family from the archdiocese.

St. Joseph Church in East St. Louis closed in 2006, according to the Belleville Diocese.

Gaiter was praised in the mid-1990s as the first black priest to hold the rank of pastor, according to a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from the time.

St__Louis_Post_Dispatch_Sun__Feb_7__1982_.jpg
This screenshot of the Sunday, Feb. 7, 1982 issue of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch features an advertisement for a European vacation with Charles E. Gaiter, a priest who was later named on a list of Jesuit priests accused of sexually abusing children. Newspapers.com screenshot

Other pastoral assignments of Gaiter’s included:

Rockhurst High School, Kansas City, Mo.

St. Matthew’s Parish, St. Louis, Mo.

Cardinal Ritter High School, St. Louis, Mo.

Jesuit Hall Community, St. Louis, Mo.

Fusz Pavilion Jesuit Community, St. Louis, Mo.

A full list of names can be found online at https://bit.ly/2Elb7QR.

Kelsey Landis is a watchdog and local government reporter for the Belleville News-Democrat. She focuses on informing you about how public figures are using your tax dollars, and that includes keeping an eye out for wasteful spending.


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