Assignment Record – Rev. William Andrew Christensen, s.m.

Summary of Case: William Andrew Christensen was ordained a priest of the Society of Mary (Marianists) in 1973. He taught for a few years at Chaminade Prep in Creve Coeur MO. At some point in the late 1970s Christensen left the US, doing economic development work in Nepal and India before settling in Bangladesh in 1986. In a 2002 lawsuit Christensen was accused of sexually abusing a male Chaminade student from 1973 to 1975. The former student died of cancer in 2008, before the suit could be resolved. His family later received a settlement. More accusations surfaced in 2007, this time by a human rights activist in Bangladesh who said Christensen sexually abused at least 30 boys there, ages 12 to 18. Christensen denied the accusations and sued the activist. In October 2010 he was informed by the Vatican that he had been laicized. Christensen appealed the laicization, and the Marianists allowed him to remain in the order pending the appeal. In January 2015 he appears to remain a Marianist priest.

Ordained: 1973

 

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Start Stop Assignment Town/Accusations State/Country Position Notes

1973

St. Louis archbishop was John Joseph Carberry (1968-1979).

1977 Chaminade College Preparatory School

Creve Coeur

Christensen was accused in a 2002 lawsuit of sexually abusing a 15 to 17 year-old Chaminade boarding student from 1973 to 1975. The former student, Michael Powel, also accused Chaminade teacher, Marianist Bro. John Woulfe.

MO teacher

Chaminade Prep had 741-516 students, day and resident, grades six through twelve.

Woulfe has been the subject of multiple allegations of sexual abuse of Chaminade students in the 1970s. He died in 2005.

Powel's lawsuit led to a 2006 MO Supreme Court ruling that repressed memories were admissable. Powel died of brain cancer in 2008; the suit had yet to be resolved. His family received a settlement from the archdiocese in 2009.

1977 1978         Christensen is indexed in the 1978 Directory as at Chaminade Prep. in Creve Couer, but is not listed as there in the St. Louis pages.
1978 1989        

Christensen is not indexed in the 1979-1980 Directories.

Per news reports, Christensen worked among the poor in India and Nepal until settling in Bangladesh in 1986. He founded IIRD (Institute of Integrated Rural Development) in 1987.

1989

Dhaka archbishop was Michael Rozario (1977-2005).

1993 St. Joseph School Mohammadpur, Dhaka Bangladesh    
1993 1995 Baritul Aman Cooperative Housing Society Adabar Shyamoli, Dhaka Bangladesh   Address: c/o IIRD House No. 351/W. , Rd. No. 4
1995 1997 IIRD (Institute of Integrated Rural Development)

Dhaka

Christensen was confronted in 2007 by human rights activist, Rosaline Costa, of having sexually abused at least 30 boys, ages 12 to 18, in Bangladesh. Costa was coordinator of HHRB (Hotline Human Rights Bangladesh). One of the accusers, a Muslim, said Christensen sexually abused him from 1996-1999 and that the priest gave him money, food and valuables in exchange for his silence. Costa claimed this was Christensen's modus operandi.

Bangladesh founder

Address: Ground Floor No. 3/14 Iqbal Rd,. Block-A

 

 

Costa claimed that Christensen used IIRD as a front for his sexual abuse of boys, many of whom were non-Christian.

Christensen denied the allegations and sued Costa for slander in 2011.

1997 2002 IIRD (Institute of Integrated Rural Development) Lalmatia Bangladesh founder Address: House #5/10, Rd. Number 48, Block-E
2002 2007         Christensen is not indexed in the 2003-2007 Directories. Per news reports, he was involved with IIRD until 2007.

2007

St. Louis archbishop was Raymond Leo Burke (2003-2008), followed by Robert James Carlson (2009-).

2011 Marycliff Marianist Community Eureka MO  

Although listed in the Directories as in this community, Christensen may have still been living in Bangladesh.

Christensen was informed of his laicization by the Vatican in October 2010 due to credible accusations against him of sexual abuse. He appealed his laicization and was allowed to remain in the Marianist order pending the appeal's outcome.

2011 2015         In January 2015 Christensen's biography appears on the Center for Economic and Social Justice (CESJ) Website. He is presented as a Marianist priest, and as a member of CESJ's Board of Counselors.

 

Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1974-2012)

Self-Help; Marianist Missionary Home to Raise Money to Help Bangladesh, By Victor Volland, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
September 21, 1995
Missouri Supreme Court to Clarify Childhood Sexual Abuse Law, By Donna Walter, St. Louis Daily Record/St. Louis Countian, June 2, 2005
MO Court of Appeals' Eastern District Rules Man Abused 25 yrs. Earlier Could Sue for Sex Abuse, Missouri Lawyers Weekly, June 6, 2005
Missouri Court Considers Repressed Memory in Abuse Case , By David A. Lieb , Associated Press, carried in the Kansas City Star , September 8, 2005
Missouri Supreme Court Ruling, June 13, 2006
Ruling Has Changed the Stakes, By Tim Townsend, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 6, 2007
Marianists Order Settles Repressed-Memory Suit, By Heather Ratcliffe, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 20, 2007
Estate of Diocesan Abuse Accuser Continues Battle, By Daniel Tepfer, Connecticut Post, December 8, 2009
Former Chaminade Priest Defrocked — SNAP Wants Apology, KMOX, January 12, 2011
Former Priest Turns on Sex Abuse Accuser, The Cathnews, January 12, 2011
Priest from St. Louis Area Accused in Bangladesh, By Tim Townsend, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 13, 2011
Group Seeks Investigation of US Priest Accused of Abuse in Bangladesh, By Jim Salter, Canadian Press, January 19, 2011
Family of St. Pete Clergy Sex Victim Gets Settlement; SNAP Responds, SNAP, March 22, 2011
MO- More abuse at Chaminade than any other MO school? SNAP asks, By Barbara Dorris, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, April 9, 2014
Marianist order focus of abuse probe with heavy ties to North Catholic, By Bill Zlatos And Bobby Kerlik, Tribune-Review, September 06, 2014
Center for Economic and Social Justice, January 2015

 

 

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Christensen's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on January 28, 2015.


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