Bishop Edward Braxton refused to ask civil authorities to investigate Gene Kreher after Stephen Poole reported to him that Kreher sexually abused him. This is a gross violation of his responsibility as pastoral leader of the diocese. Civil authorities have the manpower and professional training to conduct investigations. The diocese does not.
After a civil investigation, results should then be presented to the Diocesan Review Board. The board then decides whether he should be allowed to continue functioning as a priest, do pastoral work and live close to a preschool.
Braxton claims the Kreher matter was investigated in 1997. Investigations at that time were made by Monsignor Jim Margason. They were inadequate at best. At the James Wisniewski trial Margason admitted he violated both civil and church law in failing to disclose Father Raymond Kownacki’s sexual abuse of young boys. Had Braxton attended the trial, he would have known that. Instead, he vacationed in Paris.
A member of the Diocese Review Board, to which the Kreher was referred, told me the board was never given the letter from Kreher admitting his very inappropriate relationship with Poole. Still, Braxton claims the matter was thoroughly investigated.
Another letter from an adolescent claiming sexual impropriety by Kreher has now surfaced. Braxton continues to allow Kreher to hear children’s confessions, counsel them and live next door to a preschool.
A bishop is supposed to be the moral leader of the Catholics in a diocese. I know of no priest, religious or layman, who considers him to be such.
Gerald Montroy, O’Fallon