Priests on abuse list served at St. Stephens  


By Seth Klamann

Casper Star-Tribune

Via Wyoming News Exchange

 

CASPER— The two Jesuit priests who served at St. Stephens Mission and were included on a list last week of Jesuit clergymen who faced credible sexual abuse allegations served in leadership positions at Wyoming and Missouri schools.

The two now-former priests, Paul C. Pilgram and Anthony J. Short, were part of a 42-man list released by the Jesuit U.S. Central and Southern Province on Friday. Both men served at St. Stephens in the 1970s. Another list of credibly accused Jesuits will be released by the Midwest Province, which includes Wyoming, early next week.

Pilgram’s first posting was at St. Stephens, where he served roughly two years. He would next work at St. Louis University High School “during the timeframe of (his) alleged abuse,” according to a statement from the school’s current president.

It’s unclear if he faced allegations related to his time there. A spokesman for the school directed comment to a Jesuit spokeswoman, who declined to “provide specifics about the time or location of the accusation” to “protect the confidentiality and privacy of the survivors of abuse.”

Pilgram would then work at Regis Jesuit High in Colorado. In 1991, he would face accusations of misconduct from four students at the school, Regis President David Card said in a letter to the school community last week. Pilgram was “sent for evaluation and treatment” and civil authorities were contacted. His contact with minors was restricted that same year.

After leaving Regis in the 1980s and before the 1991 accusations, Pilgram went back to Missouri, where he served as principal of Rockhurst High School, a prep school in Kansas City. He was principal from 1976 to 1980, according to a statement from the school’s president, David Laughlin. In 2002, Rockhurst received the first of two reports of misconduct against Pilgram, Laughlin wrote, and Pilgram was removed from the ministry the next year.

Short also worked at St. Louis University High — his first posting — and Regis Jesuit High, according to the list. It doesn’t appear he faced allegations related to his time at those two schools: The letter from St. Louis University High President Alan Carruthers says the school “is not aware of allegations of any abuse at the school or in relation to any SLUH students” by Short. The letter from Card to the Regis community details Regis-related accusations against Pilgram and another priest, but the letter does not mention Short.

After time at SLUH and a St. Louis church, Short came to Wyoming. He became pastor of the mission and superintendent of St. Stephens Indian School in early 1974, according to Star-Tribune records.

He left St. Stephens in 1977, according to a history of the mission posted to the Diocese of Cheyenne’s website. Short then spent three years at Regis “where he served as pastoral director, theology and history instructor, and director of adult education for parents and high school students,” according to a Sep. 26, 1981, Star-Tribune article.

He returned to St. Stephens in 1981, according to Star-Tribune archives, to serve on the mission’s “pastoral and religious education team.” He would also serve as associate pastor and the chairman of the mission’s Heritage Committee.

In 1982, he was named editor of the Wind River Rendezvous, according to archives. The mission foundation-run magazine “covers tribal history and present activities of the Arapaho and Shoshoni (sic) tribes,” according to a Nov. 27, 1982, Star-Tribune article. He would be replaced as editor in 1984.

According to the Jesuit province that released the list, Short faced an allegation from one individual. His “estimated timeframe of abuse” was in the 1960s and 1970s. He was removed from the ministry in 2008 and is currently living in a “skilled nursing facility under supervision.”

Pilgram faced multiple allegations, according to the Jesuit list, and his timeframe of alleged abuse was between the 1970s and 1990s. He is also alive and is living under supervision, according to the Jesuit province.

It remains unclear if Short and Pilgram faced any allegations from their time in Wyoming. A woman who answered the phone at St. Stephens declined to comment last week. A message left for a priest at the mission was not returned Friday, and subsequent messages left Monday were also not returned. A Jesuit spokeswoman declined to provide specifics last week. Neither man’s name is listed in state or federal court records.

The release of the lists by the Jesuits comes amid a wave of similar releases by Catholic organizations across the country. Dioceses in Nebraska, Alabama, Missouri and elsewhere have released similar lists that detail decades of abuse by clergymen.

Last week, the Diocese of Cheyenne announced that it was conducting its own review of priests, bishops and deacons, a list that it would publicly release upon its completion. A diocese official told the Star-Tribune last week that there was no estimated time frame for when the work would be completed.