ST. LOUIS – The Archdiocese of St. Louis will not assign a Roman Catholic priest twice accused of misconduct with children to a new parish in response to parents' concern.
The Rev. Xiu Hui "Joseph" Jiang recently was appointed associate pastor of St. Gabriel the Archangel Parish, which includes a K-8 school, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported .
He had previously faced a charge of statutory sodomy, or sexual intercourse with someone under 14, in St. Louis and a child endangerment charge in Lincoln County. But both cases were dropped several years ago and Jiang has denied the allegations.
Parents at St. Gabriel objected to the appointment, voicing their concerns about Jiang's two past misconduct investigations and the lack of communication from the school and archdiocese.
The archdiocese moved Wednesday to keep Jiang in his current assignment at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, according to a spokesman.
"While there is no reason Fr. Jiang could not or should not be assigned to a parish with a school, at the same time, I realize that very few priests have been exonerated in the courts as has Fr. Jiang," St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson wrote in a letter. "Unfortunately, the level of your concern is a sign of the healing which still needs to take place in the Church when dealing with historical abuse."
A Lincoln County family sued Jiang and the archdiocese in 2013, alleging the priest molested a 16-year-old girl. A jury ruled in Jiang's favor last year.
Jiang was also accused of sexually assaulting a boy at the Cathedral Basilica's elementary school in 2014. The criminal charges were dropped the following year, and Jiang filed a civil suit against the mother of the accuser and a victims group, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The group later issued an apology to Jiang after settling the suit last year.
Carlson said he wants to meet with school and parish leadership to discuss the reaction to Jiang's appointment, how the Church works to safeguard children and how to move forward as a parish and an archdiocese.
Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com