Prosecutors drop charges against priest accused of abusing boy at local Catholic school
Updated at 4:00 p.m. Wednesday with comments from the Archdiocese of St. Louis
St. Louis prosecutors have dropped criminal charges against a priest in the St. Louis Archdiocese accused of abusing a student at St. Louis the King School.
Father Xiuhui "Joseph" Jiang was charged in 2014 with two counts of sodomy for allegedly assaulting the boy in a bathroom at the school, near the Cathedral Basilica in the Central West End. A judge was scheduled to rule on Thursday whether prosecutors could use statements that the victim, identified in court documents only as A.M., made to investigators at the Children's Advocacy Center.
(St. Louis Public Radio has redacted Father Jiang's address and Social Security number from the charging documents linked above. No other changes have been made.)
But prosecutors on Tuesday dismissed the charges "for the reason that the state is unable to proceed at this time," the circuit attorney's office said in a statement. "The statute of limitations in this case does not run out for another 35 years. The office remains hopeful that charges will be refiled in the future. For this reason, we are unable to provide any additional information or discuss the case further."
"It's about time," said Paul D'Agrosa, Jiang's attorney. "This case should never have been brought to begin with. It was a false allegation from the beginning."
According to a statement from the Archdiocese of St. Louis, the allegations against Jiang originated with the Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect hotline. A.M.'s family was pursuing a claim that other children at St. Louis the King had been bullying their son.
The Archdiocese said an independent polygraph exam found no evidence that Jiang had abused the boy. Jiang is currently suspended, but the Archdiocese is reviewing his status in light of the prosecutor's decision not to proceed with the case.
David Clohessy, the executive director of the Survivor's Network of Those Abused by Priests, said he was disappointed that prosecutors had decided not to proceed.
"Two kids report being molested by him, and police and prosecutors in two jurisdictions find those kids credible," Clohessy said. "We are grateful that the prosecutor [Jennifer Joyce] brought these charges, and we share the prosecutors' belief and hope that they will be refiled in the future. In our view, Jiang is a serial child predator."
Jiang had previously faced accusations in Lincoln County that he assaulted a teenage girl and then allegedly sent her parents a $20,000 check. Criminal charges in that case were dropped, but a civil trial is proceeding. Clohessy said he does not expect the dismissal of criminal charges in St. Louis to affect the civil case in Lincoln County because the evidence is much stronger.
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