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.
St. Louis archbishop was John Joseph Carberry (1968-1979).
|1977||Chaminade College Preparatory School||
• 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.
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.|
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.
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)||
• 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.
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.|
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
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.
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