Come to the Stable

The Stephen Spalding Foundation

Our History

When a person uses tricks, power, threats, or violence
to have sexual contact with another adult, it is called rape
or sexual assault.  When the victimized person is a child,
people often use the phrase child molesting.  When a
child is molested by a relative, it is called incest.

 

Consequently, the bedrock of Come to the Stable/The
Stephen Spalding Foundation is one of memory, sorrow,
and pain.

 

CTS/SSF intends to rectify to some degree the damage
that pedophiles like
Anthony J. O’Connell, have caused
by creating a safe harbor, a secret garden, if you will, for
survivor/ victims and their loved ones to enjoy.

 

Sexual abuse is in fact a sexual act. Yet it is much more
than merely a sexual act.  Sexual abuse is an expression of power, compulsiveness, a desire for control, or an act of vengeance, which often is masked as an act of love.

 

Anthony J. O’Connell (above, right)

St. Thomas Faculty, 1963-1988

St. Thomas Rector, 1969-1988

Bishop. Knoxville, TN, 1988–1998

Bishop, Palm Beach, FL, 1998–2002

 

Come to the Stable/The Stephen Spalding Foundation represents just one aspect of childhood sexual molestation: the metamorphosis that has emerged from the sexual abuse scandal that has enveloped the Roman Catholic Church in the United States for more than 50 years.

 

CTS/SSF has been established by the survivor/victims of clergy sexual abuse at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Hannibal, Missouri, and their families and friends.  The seed money for this endeavor of hope comes from a settlement agreement between Michael Wegs; Anthony J. O’Connell, the former bishop of Knoxville, Tennessee (1988-1998), and Palm Beach, Florida (1998-2002); and Bishop John R. Gaydos, Bishop Michael F. McAuliffe (retired) of the Diocese of Jefferson City, Missouri.

 


St. Thomas Schola Cantorum, Clarksville, Missouri, 1970

Organized by O’Connell, this small choir raised funds for St. Thomas. Criminal investigators
have found that O’Connell molested at least 30-50 students during his tenure as rector of
the seminary: 16 alumni have contacted CTS/SSF to report O’Connell’s predatory abuse at
St. Thomas. Michael Wegs is standing in the back row, second from the left. Fr. Fred Elskamp
was dean of students at the  time, and most recently was rector of St. Joseph Cathedral.
O’Connell was an avid photographer of student life.  
Photograph: Anthony J. O'Connell.

 

 

Stephen Spalding is the first known O’Connell victim. Stephen’s mother reported the crime to the Diocese of Jefferson City in 1968.

 

The Diocese of Jefferson City, Missouri, a co-defendant in numerous clergy abuse cases, employed O’Connell for more than 25 years as a priest, vocation director, and the rector of its high school seminary, St. Thomas Aquinas, in Hannibal, Missouri.

 

O’Connell also is a protégé of Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston.  Law sent high school seminarians to St. Thomas when he was the bishop of Springfield, Missouri.

 

The settlement is modest: $5,000 from O’Connell; $20,000 from the Diocese of Jefferson City.  O’Connell and the Diocese used Missouri’s statute of limitations constraints to avoid a just settlement.  The legal team in the St. Thomas cases involved former classmates of all litigants, who refused to meet with their boyhood friends.

 

The Diocese of Jefferson City, Missouri, a co-defendant, employed O'Connell for more than 25 years as a priest, vocation director, and the rector of its high school seminary, St. Thomas Aquinas, in Hannibal, Missouri.  O'Connell also is a protégé of Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston.  Law sent high school seminarians to St. Thomas when he was the bishop of Springfield, Missouri.

 

The settlement is modest: $5,000 from O'Connell; $20,000 from the Diocese of Jefferson City.

 

The significance of the settlement is that it is based on a successful Missouri court decision that priests are employees.  Not contract workers.  Not consultants.  Not temporary employees.

 

 

Meet John Doe . . .

See also . . . .


The Rise and Fall of St. Thomas . . .


Stephen Spalding: A Brief, Shining Moment . . .


Donna Cox: A Woman of Courage . . .


Bishop Anthony J. O'Connell . . .


William F. Buckley: The Writhings of Bishop O’Connell . . .


Why Ex-Bishop Is Free . . .


Bishop John R. Gaydos: "Debriding" Victims of Sexual Abuse . . .


Five Dioceses Agreed to Help One Sexual Abuse Victim . . .


The Tree of Life . . .


Please Help Us with Your Contribution . . .