80-Year-Old Priest Abuse Victim Comes Forward

Tanya Sinkovits/Fred Bodimer

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX/AP) — “I was nine years old, this was in 1940 so this gives you some idea on how old I am,” explains alleged priest abuse victim Fred Carr.

Carr waited seventy years to tell his story of abuse at the hands of the late Father John Wieberg.

Rev. Wieberg died nearly a half-century ago, but his affect on the lives of many still remain. The Archdiocese of St. Louis is now reaching out to potential victims abused by Rev. Wieberg.

So far five people have come forward alleging abuse that happened from the mid-1940s through the early 1960s.

Phil Hengen, director of the archdiocesan office of Child and Youth Protection, said Monday the archdiocesan Review Board deemed the allegations credible.

“We still don’t know the possible extent of the problem,” Hengen said. “Sometimes folks have to get the courage up to come forward with something they’ve been sitting on for many, many years because of shame and embarrassment.”

That was the case for Fred Carr who didn’t tell his family for over sixty years. He says hiding that secret ate away at his life. “I’ve had a lot of depression over the years,” says Carr as he encourages other victims of clergy abuse to speak up, saying its not only the right thing to do, but an important step in the healing process.

“My message to any other victims out there is come forward. The church needs to get itself cleaned up,” Carr said.

The Rev. Wieberg was 32 when he was ordained in 1918 and served as pastor at parishes in Advance, Charleston and Arcadia in southern Missouri, and Josephville in St. Charles County, before retiring in 1961. He died in 1963.

Archdiocese officials don’t normally make announcements about allegedly abusive priests who have died because the priest can’t defend himself. But Archbishop Robert Carlson said he wants to give any other potential abuse victims the chance to come forward.

“Even though Rev. Wieberg cannot respond to the allegations, I have a moral obligation to others who may have been abused to assist them with their healing,” Carlson said in a statement.

Copyright KMOX/AP

  • Judy Block-Jones

    Fred Carr is to be commended for having the courage to step forward. the wisdom to take action, the patience to endure a long struggle to expose a predator, achieve some justice, expose the truth and let others know that they are not alone.

    Hopefully others who saw, suspected, or suffered crimes by Wieberg will come forward, get help and start to heal.

    It is never to late to speak up about being sexually abused, and it is not your burden to carry because it was not your fault. Also, there is hope, help, and healing.

    Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, 636-433-2511
    “Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests”

  • tina

    I really admire people from older generations who tell the truth about being sexually abused.. it helps make sense out of many times when the abused acted out thru depression or alcohol addiction or whatever became the manifestation the abuse took on.
    These manifestations often lead loved ones to wonder why a family member or other was so sad, wouldnt talk, abused drugs and alcohol, or even killed themselves.
    It actually is an act of forgiveness when a victim admits the secret because the victim tells the truth and stops protecting the perpetrator and gives the abuse back to the perpetrator and those who protected them where it belongs.
    Our laws seem to all benefit the perpetrator.. Especially statutes of limiitations on child sexual abuse that allow the perpetrator to be off the hook after a certain amount of time has passed and thus continue serial sexual abuse of more children.. and destroying more families.
    i believe everyone is affected negatively by child sexual abuse from a new born baby to the federal governament because we are all paying the price.
    Thank you Mr Carr. and the church leader who isnt trying to cover up or protect the priest..A good priest would want the truth told.. dead or alive..

  • SNAP Network

    Fred Carr is a hero. And it’s a shame that church officials sat, for who knows how many yeasr, on reports of abuse from at least five or six men before finally admitting that this priest was a predator.

    David Clohessy, Director, SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, (7234 Arsenal Street, St. Louis MO 63143), 314 566 9790 cell (SNAPclohessy@aol.com)

  • DPierre
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