The Archdiocese of St. Louis will pay $1 million to settle a sex abuse lawsuit

Jun 9, 2023, 8:51 AM | Updated: 11:02 am

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Archdiocese of St. Louis will pay $1 million to settle a lawsuit filed by a man who was sexually abused as a child by a priest who previously spent 12 years in prison for abusing another boy, an attorney for the victim said Friday.

The plaintiff was an altar boy at Ascension Catholic Church in Chesterfield, Missouri. The suit alleged he was abused by the Rev. Gary Wolken starting in 1993, when the boy was in fourth grade, and continuing through 1995. The lawsuit said the plaintiff repressed memories until he was an adult. The man’s lawsuit, which did not use his name, was filed in 2018.

His attorney, Rebecca Randles, said the settlement was reached this week.

“We applaud our client who has been very brave in facing down the Archdiocese of St. Louis in a case that was very hard-fought and difficult from an emotional and legal standpoint,” Randles said.

The archdiocese said in a statement that it hopes the settlement provides some comfort for the victim and his family.

“We continue to pray for all victims of sexual abuse, that they may find comfort and healing. Please keep all those who are exploited in your prayers, especially children and vulnerable adults,” the statement said.

Wolken is now 57. He was sentenced to prison in 2003 for sexually abusing another St. Louis-area boy from 1997 to 2000. He was in prison from 2003 to 2015. The archdiocese suspended Wolken after the criminal allegation and began the process of permanently removing him as clergy, a process that was completed in 2007, the archdiocese statement said.

In 2004, the archdiocese paid nearly $1.7 million to settle a lawsuit claiming that church leaders could have intervened to prevent the abuse but didn’t.

“Long ago, church staff knew Fr. Gary Wolken was a predator but did almost nothing to stop him and protect kids,” David Clohessy of SNAP, or the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said in a statement.

United States News

Associated Press

Manslaughter charges thrown out in Michigan prisoner’s death

MUNISING, Mich. (AP) — A judge dismissed charges Monday against six people in the death of a Michigan prisoner who lost 50 pounds over two weeks and died of dehydration while being restrained in 2019. There was evidence of a lack of proper care for Jonathan Lancaster but not enough to send two former prison […]

20 minutes ago

Associated Press

Michigan woman will serve up to 5 years in prison for crash into icy pond that killed her 3 sons

HOLLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A western Michigan woman was sentenced to up to five years in prison Monday for a crash in which her three young sons drowned after her SUV plunged into an ice-covered pond. Leticia Gonzales had pleaded no contest in August to operating while intoxicated causing serious injury and three misdemeanor […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

8 injured when JetBlue flight from Ecuador hits severe turbulence as it approaches Fort Lauderdale

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A JetBlue flight from Ecuador to Fort Lauderdale hit extreme turbulence while approaching the Florida airport Monday, injuring seven passengers and a crew member, the airline said in a statement. JetBlue flight 1256 had traveled from Guayaquil, Ecuador, and was headed to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport for a landing shortly […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Texas Walmart shooter agrees to pay more than $5M to families over 2019 racist attack

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A white Texas gunman who killed 23 people in a racist attack on Hispanic shoppers at a Walmart in 2019 agreed Monday to pay more than $5 million to families of the victims. Patrick Crusius was sentenced to 90 consecutive life sentences in July after pleading guilty to federal hate crime […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Democratic Sen. Menendez says cash found in home was from his personal savings, not bribe proceeds

UNION CITY, N.J. (AP) — Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey defiantly pushed back against federal corruption charges on Monday, saying nearly half a million dollars in cash authorities found in his home was on hand for emergencies and from his savings account, not from bribe proceeds. Rejecting rising calls for him to […]

4 hours ago

FILE - Traffic streaks by the Cuban Embassy in Washington early Saturday morning, Nov. 26, 2016. U....

Associated Press

Molotov cocktail is thrown at the Cuban Embassy in Washington, but there’s no damage and no injuries

WASHINGTON (AP) — At least one Molotov cocktail was thrown at the Cuban Embassy in Washington, but there was no significant damage and no one was injured. U.S. law enforcement officials were investigating. Secret Service officers were called around 8 p.m. Sunday to respond to the attack on a busy street in the Adams-Morgan section […]

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles



Importance of AC maintenance after Arizona’s excruciating heat wave

An air conditioning unit in Phoenix is vital to living a comfortable life inside, away from triple-digit heat.



When most diets fail, re:vitalize makes a difference that shows

Staying healthy and losing weight are things many people in Arizona are conscious of, especially during the summer.



Thank you to Al McCoy for 51 years as voice of the Phoenix Suns

Sanderson Ford wants to share its thanks to Al McCoy for the impact he made in the Valley for more than a half-decade.

The Archdiocese of St. Louis will pay $1 million to settle a sex abuse lawsuit