Thursday, September 22, 2005

 

Previously accused priest sued


ST. LOUIS (AP) - A former Catholic high school administrator already sued for alleged sexual abuse of students in Colorado in the 1960s is now accused of sexually assaulting a St. Louis-area student at knife-point in 1985.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests yesterday announced a lawsuit against William Mueller during a news conference outside the national headquarters of the Marianists religious order. The Marianists operate Vianney High School in Kirkwood, where the abuse allegedly occurred. The suit seeks unspecified damages and also names Vianney and the Marianists.

The lawsuit was filed by Bryan Bacon, who is now a 35-year-old clerk for a federal bankruptcy judge. Bacon was a 15-year-old sophomore at Vianney at the time of the alleged abuse in October 1985.

Last Wednesday, two men who were students at a Catholic high school in Pueblo, Colo., in 1968 filed a lawsuit in Denver accusing Mueller of drugging them with ether and then sexually assaulting them. The men claimed Mueller told them he was conducting experiments on sleep.

Mueller came to St. Mary’s school in St. Louis in 1981 and three years later became assistant principal and dean of students at Vianney, an all-boys school, said David Clohessy, national director of SNAP.

Bacon said Mueller took a strong interest in him from the start. He said he considered Mueller a mentor, so he was honored when Mueller asked him to come to his office and help with an experiment toward earning a master’s degree.

Bacon said Mueller told him the experiment had to be kept secret, even from Bacon’s parents. With the door closed and locked, he said Mueller began with a series of strange questions, always asking, "Does this frighten you?"

Eventually, Bacon said, Mueller moved behind him and rubbed his neck, shoulders and chest, still asking whether Bacon was frightened. Bacon felt uncomfortable but answered no. Mueller then blindfolded Bacon, pulled him close and began putting his mouth on Bacon’s ear, Bacon said. Still blindfolded, Bacon said he then felt a long, sharp object against his throat.

At that point, Bacon said, he told Mueller he was frightened. He said that appeared to arouse Mueller, saying Mueller began simulating intercourse from behind Bacon while pressing the knife closer to his throat.

Bacon didn’t tell anyone, but not long after the incident, Mueller left the school and never returned.

The Marianists have said Mueller left the order in 1986 after spending time at a treatment center but had no details about his treatment.


See also, the never-ending chronicle of church-related crime.

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