ST. LOUIS – A support group for victims of clergy abuse has apologized to a Roman Catholic priest who sued after child molestation charges against him were dropped and jurors in a separate lawsuit concerning the allegations sided with the China-born priest.
The Archdiocese of St. Louis on Monday disclosed the apology from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.
"SNAP acknowledges that false claims of clergy sexual abuse injure those clerics falsely accused and the Roman Catholic Church," the group said. The group added that it apologized for "any false or inaccurate statements" related to the accusations against the Rev. Xiu Hui "Joseph" Jiang that "in any way disparaged" him, the archbishop and other archdiocese officials.
SNAP publicized accusations against Jiang after he was criminally charged in 2013 on accusations that he molested a 16-year-old eastern Missouri girl under a blanket. In an unrelated case two years later, he was charged in St. Louis on allegations that he abused a 13-year-old boy in a bathroom at the Cathedral Basilica elementary school. Charges in both cases were dropped without explanation.
The female accuser sued Jiang, but jurors sided with the priest in April. Jiang then sued the mother of the male accuser, along with SNAP and St. Louis police. SNAP was accused of defamation, while police were accused of botching the investigation.
SNAP confirmed Monday that the apology was included in a settlement in Jiang's lawsuit. Court records show the case was dismissed on Nov. 21, but no details about the settlement, including possible money damages, were included in the records.
SNAP Executive Director Barbara Dorris said her organization simply publicized what was already public information.
"We reported he had been arrested, and he had been arrested," Dorris told The Associated Press. "We reported he had been arrested a second time, and he had been."
A spokesman for the archdiocese declined comment. A phone message seeking comment from Jiang's attorney wasn't immediately returned.
The SNAP apology also extended to the archdiocese, Archbishop Robert Carlson and a now deceased pastor who supervised Jiang when he worked at the Cathedral Basilica in St. Louis.
Jiang was sponsored by Carlson when he first came to the U.S. to pursue the priesthood. Jiang served as a deacon in Michigan and came to St. Louis when Carlson was named archbishop in 2009.
The archdiocese said Jiang returned to work in June as an associate pastor at the Cathedral Basilica.