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Massachusetts education official leaves job after name appears on list of St. Louis priests accused of child sexual abuse


Keith Westrich, associate commissioner for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, who long worked on programs to get high-school kids ready for life after graduation, was placed on leave and then retired after his name was published in a list of former "clergy with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor" issued by the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

In a statement today, DESE said:

On July 26, the St. Louis Archdiocese released a list of former clergy who have had substantiated claims of sexual abuse of a minor made against them in connection with incidents alleged to have occurred before 2003. A Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education employee, Keith Westrich, was included on the archdiocese's list. The Department placed him on leave immediately upon becoming aware of the allegations and began looking into the matter. Mr. Westrich left the employ of DESE effective Aug. 9.

"We remain in contact with authorities in Missouri," a DESE spokeswoman added.

Westrich, 64, was ordained a priest in 1981 and was "removed from ministry," according to the Archdiocese of St. Louis list, which provided no further details. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the list was the first time that Westrich's name had ever surfaced in connection with child abuse.

Westrich moved to Boston, where, at least by 1990, he was working as a "career specialist" in West Roxbury High School, helping students with career issues as a representative of the Boston Private Industry Council, which matches Boston high school kids with local employers. By 1994, he had become head of the PIC's ProTech program, which helped arrange job training and internships for Boston high-school students.

He later moved to the DESE, where he focused on similar issues involving getting high-school students ready for life after school. In 2018, he earned $120,000 a year, according to a Pioneer Institute database.

In a statement, St. Louis Archbishop Robert J. Carlson said the list

Is the result of a long and extensive investigation conducted by a third-party agency staffed with skilled investigators, formerly of the FBI and state law enforcement. The results were provided to the Archdiocesan Review Board—a board composed of a majority of lay members who are not employed by the Archdiocese of St. Louis. The Review Board produced the list and shared it with me for final review. I have accepted the results of this investigative process.




Thst said: people sexually attracted to children and teens will often try and work in professions where they have legit reasons to be around the objects of their sexual and emotional desires.Better still if they are in a position of authority. Teachers, law enforcement, medical professionals, religious clergy, even involvement in charities, etc.

A better job needs to be done weeding out these people from having easy and often unquestioned access to kids and under-aged teenagers.

I attended an all boys Catholic HS for two years.All the boys were aware of this issue.We cracked a lot of jokes about it.But I can not remember any responsible adult, such as my or other parents, discussing it. Maybe in private they did. Not with the boys.

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A catholic institution ignored the issue of priests raping children? I'm shocked!!!1!

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This guy doesn't interact with children. It's still inappropriate that he would join a profession that is dedicated to children but this job has as much interaction with children as an insurance salesman. Still inappropriate but it would be a more dangerous situation if he was working in a school.

My first reaction was to blame the people who vetted and hired him at DESE but the real blame goes to those in St Louis. They are the ones who covered up his actions, allowed him to escape prosecution and wind up in a state department of ed.

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I just added a link in the original post to a 1990 BPS guide that listed him as a "career advisor" to students at West Roxbury High School.

Voting closed 4

It's possible he stopped his abuse upon leaving the church. That doesn't forgive him for previous actions, but people do change.

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1. Charge him with the abuse in St. Louis.
2. Make him register as a sex offender.
3. Don't give him a job in any school or Department of Education type setting
4. Now that you know he wasn't charged in St. Louis, make him a sex offender here.
5. Wait for victims to come forward.

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so the catholic church knew he sexually abused children and they fired him and didn’t tell anyone he was sexually abusing children? no way. they would have just transferred him to a different parish.

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The Vatican would have been hit by an asteroid centuries ago.

We must stop trying not offend the sensibilities of their devout legion of hypocrites and call this what it is.

Church Sanctioned Child Rape.

Voting closed 4