Lawsuit: Priest Asked Teen to Dress Like a Woman, Not a Child, Before Sexual Abuse
By Lindsay Toler
November 22, 2013
Even after a Cathedral Basilica priest asked the archdiocese to reassign him for personal reasons, the church allowed Joseph Jiang to have unsupervised contact with the minor he is accused of sexually assaulting in her home and on church property, according to a lawsuit.
Update: The criminal charges against Jiang were dropped Thursday. Read more in our story: Court Drops Teen Sex Abuse Charges for Catholic Priest Joseph Jiang
The family of the victim -- who remains anonymous because she was a minor at the time of the abuse -- warned that 25-year-old Jiang was too affectionate and touchy with their 15-year-old daughter, leading Jiang to ask Archbishop Robert Carlson and the pastor of the Cathedral Basilica for a reassignment for personal reasons.
He was not reassigned. Soon after, he returned to the victim's home crying, said he could not stay away from the family, pinned the girl against a wall and kissed her, according to the lawsuit.
Jiang faces criminal charges, but the family is also suing the archdiocese and Archbishop Carlson for knowingly allowing a sexual predator to serve as a priest and have unsupervised contact with their daughter.
See also: Rev. Xiuhui "Joseph" Jiang Charged with Fondling Child
"Defendants Archdiocese and Archbishop failed to stop Father Jiang from engaging in sexual behavior or to notify children or their parents of Jiang's propensity to sexually abuse minors," the lawsuit says. "As a result, Father Jiang was allowed unlimited access to the minor plaintiff because [the parents] trusted that their parish priest was safe."
The family amended their lawsuit this week, adding disturbing details and witness accounts of abuse. A judge has denied the archbishop's request to dismiss the case.
See also: Archbishop Robert Carlson Asks to Dismiss Witness Tampering Charges in Sex Abuse Case
Read why the fifteen-year-old lost 25 pounds for Jiang after the jump
The lawsuit says Jiang asked his victim to look good for him, to dress more like a woman than a girl, even buying her an expensive Coach purse. The victim lost 25 pounds and was upset that she didn't look enough like a woman for the priest.
A witness reported seeing Jiang kissing the victim and touching her behind in the parking lot of the church rectory, according to the lawsuit.
Bishop Robert Herman instructed Jiang to provide spiritual counseling to the family, including performing confession in the victim's bedroom, according to the lawsuit. Jiang went to the family's home even after he'd been reported for inappropriate behavior by a friend of the family's, according to the lawsuit.
When the archdiocese found out Jiang was babysitting minors in the family, Archbishop Carlson called him while he was at the family's home and told him to stay away until an investigation cleared up.
See also: St. Louis Archdiocese Paid $10 Million in 10 Years in Clergy Abuse, Misconduct Costs
Jiang, who told his victim he wanted to marry her, directed her to set up a private e-mail account so they could communicate. When her parents found explicit e-mails, they confronted Jiang, who admitted to the abuse, left the house and returned with a $20,000 check.
Archbishop Carlson called the family to say Jiang had confessed, according to the lawsuit. He said he would remove Jiang from the priesthood only if he'd had sex with a child and suggested the family return the check he left them.
The family gave the check over to police, who arrested Jiang.
Lawsuit: Jane & John Doe v. Archbishop, Archdiocese