Minnesota Church Won’t Investigate Priest

OWENSBORO, Ky. (AP) — The Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis is not planning to investigate a priest from the state who was named in a Facebook posting by a man before he shot himself to death in a Kentucky church parking lot. But a Kentucky diocese plans to continue with its investigation of the man’s allegations.

Archdiocese spokesman Dennis McGrath told The Messenger-Inquirer newspaper there was no justification for an investigation into the Rev. William Baer, former rector of St. John Vianney College Seminary at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, where David M. Jarboe had once been a student.

The 23-year-old Jarboe shot himself in the parking lot of Blessed Mother Catholic Church in Owensboro, Ky. on Feb. 3.

His Facebook posting mentioned Baer and two other priests, one of whom he praises, as well as pain as a result of sexual abuse in the church. The Kentucky man didn’t accuse a specific priest or other individual of abuse in the note.

“I mean, because he was critical of Father Baer in his Facebook post does not make the giant leap that he was responsible for whatever happened to him,” McGrath told the newspaper. “… Father Baer is one of our finest, most popular priests.”

McGrath said Baer was well-respected and was instrumental in St. John Vianney College Seminary’s growth when he was there.

The “poor bedeviled young man, for him to mention (Father Baer) in the same context with whatever may have happened to him is so unfortunate and so unfair,” the archdiocese spokesman said of Jarboe.

Jarboe mentioned three priests in the note. To the first one, whom he identified as Father Fedewa, Jarboe wrote: “Thanks for proving to me what dedicating your life to Christ can be like. Thanks for your service to the Church.”

To Baer, “you get no thanks. You are an evil man. Period.”

To the third, the Rev. Freddie Byrd, “I forgive you.”

Baer, now at Transfiguration Catholic Church in Oakdale, Minn., did not immediately respond to an e-mail request for comment.

Byrd was pastor of Blessed Mother from 1998-2008. According to the diocese’s website, he is pastor of St. Peter of Antioch and Sacred Heart parishes in Waverly, Ky.

He declined to comment when reached by the newspaper at the St. Peter of Antioch church rectory Wednesday.

The Diocese of Owensboro announced Monday it is utilizing an independent investigator to examine the allegations made by Jarboe. The Daviess County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office has asked the Owensboro Police Department to investigate as well.

The Diocese of Owensboro has been in contact with the Rev. Peter A. Laird, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, McGrath said.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • the crux of the biscut

    No sense investigating when the star witness is dead eh….

  • Tom

    Not a huge surprise!

  • tc


  • Bryson Powers

    I don’t care how often it’s in the news I still am shocked by a person molesting children. It’s the one crime that should get the death penalty. Even murderers can be reformed. Child abusers never change.

    • Sarah McB

      But, dontcha know they are “fogiven” by God, so they church has to forgive them too!! I agree with you that all persons molesting children should get death penalty, but its even worse for someone in a position such as a priest/pastor/clergyman, who people put their trust and faith in Using the name of God to molest children is just sick!

  • HMJ

    Do your homework before you make a comment. Anyone can be a monster, not just a catholic priest. You just don’t hear about when it happens within families. The news can not sensationalize it then.

    49% of offenders of victims under age 6 were family members
    42% of offenders of victims ages 7-11 were family members
    24% of offenders of victims ages 12 – 17 were family members

    • HMJ

      I forgot 1 thing, isn’t it the job of the police to look into it??

      • JG

        I’m with you on this HMJ.

    • markH

      You may well be correct, however these statistics do not tell the whole story. To my understanding, none of the groups you cite claim to act in accordance with (or to be in communication with) the creator of the universe. This is precisely the difference here: those who claim to know there is a god and what he expects and wants from us behave no different from those who reject the nonsense of religion and superstition. In short, you’ve only succeeded in proving that those who “know god” behave no better than those who do not. Therefore, the idea of god and the religions that flow from that idea are not only nonsensical, but unnecessary to human happiness Peace.

      • Pretenders

        Your thinking might sound logical markH to you, yet I am not convinced that is true completely, however, I can see why you come to that conclusion. I hope not all religious clergy are pedophiles hiding behind religion. You know the old saying “It takes one bad apple to ruin the whole batch”. Just like you would not like to be judged by what your family member did, neither do all clergy want to be judged by what a fake pedophile cleric has done. You are called to worship God not anyone on this planet. Trust only God is the lesson.

    • Bill

      Homework eh? This should be a criminalinvestigation not an option to be or not taken by a respective diocease. Thd abuse by a piest is arguably far greater due to the abuse/God correlation….deserving of a special place in Hell

  • markH

    Nor will this church investigate the veracity of the immoral and unlikely teachings that it instills in young and innocent minds of children-no surprise there. Peace.

  • richard

    I wonder if the bishop will be producing and distributing a DVD condemming sexual abuse of children by priests as was recently done regarding the “evils” of gay lifestyles??? The catholic church has ceded ALL of it’s moral influence and authority by the way it handled and covered up these crimes. They not only covered up the crimes and lied; they moved these perverts to other parrishes so they could repeat their sins over and over.

  • CAS

    I’m really tired of the Catholic Bashing on this site!

  • JMJ

    Victim Du Jour is right but more importantly it is clear that the guy that killed himself was insane and he holds no credibility for any of the things he wrote on facebook. Anyone that commits suicide is mentally ill and is capable of saying anything.

    • Laudetur Iesus Christus!

      It makes me so sad to see this story. There seems to be no proof that this Priest did anything. It sad to see fellow Catholics condemn someone when they don’t even know the truth, they only see the twisted version that the news decides to display. I will be praying for everyone who has commented and for all those involved in the investigation. Especially those who condemn the Catholic Church. May God’s light and mercy truly shine through and may God bless all those who judge. I am so sorry to the family and friends of those who lost Mr. Jarboe, may they know he’s in a better place. My uncle committed suicide so I can relate to the feeling of being confused, but I hope that in this confusion you do not let anger overcome you. May God bless each of you of that reads this post. Praised be Jesus and Mary, now and forever!

  • Marcy P.

    I think its just not natural to expect a man not to have sexual relations as a human, regardless or as a condition of their position in a church….. ie: let the Priests take wives and perhaps the pedophilia will decrease in the Catholic churches….

  • voice of reason

    I have know Fr Baer for years and would be utterly amazed if any of these accusations are true. It’s amazing to me how irresponsible so-called “reporting” has become and how quickly the public responds with disdain. Why not let the truth come out first before ruining someone’s reputation? As the one post says, aren’t the police supposed to look into something like this? If law enforcement doesn’t even investigate, why is it being printed already? Also, imagine if you were in a public leadership position and your name was dragged through the mud. There is a tremendous prejudice against Catholic priests. It is unfair and irresponsible.

  • Just a thought...

    I say let the Catholic clergy take wives and have normal, natural, human sexual relations and they amount of pedophilia would be less….

    • annoyed

      SO, there aren’t any married men who are pedophiles? Get real!

    • jh

      Pedophiles will do anything in their power to be around children. Priest do not become pedophiles..pedophiles become priest.

  • Gary

    If he was their best, I’d hate to see their worst.

  • History lesson for the moron cache

    Cache the catholic bible is the unedited version. The protestants removed books that they disagreed with especially those that had jewish teaching like maccabees and tobit. Obviously you should try to learn on your own, not listen to some fire and brimestone rev who says he knows for a fact who is going to hell.

  • Eartha

    The priesthood tends to draw in fellows who at a tender age are struggling with urges toward pediphelia. Instead of seeking professional psychiatric help they believe devoting their lives to Christ will subdue the evil in themselves. Match that with the very unusual type of person who is even interested in a priestly life and borne is a timebomb of repressed emotions, psyche and ultimately secret aggregating behind closed doors. Catholicism must remove its legacy of secrecy and oppression and allow a normal lifestyle for those who have a true calling.

  • rdyoun g

    The Owensboro diocese has closed their “investigation” as well. Feels no need to go any further. Although I did not know David Jarboe, several around me did. He seems to have been a wonderful person, very outgoing & loved by so many. He led an exemplary life in his short time. He felt that doing what he did, where he did, would make them not be able to ignore what happened to him And sadly, they have. Hopefully the state of Kentucky will step forward and give this young man the justice he should have had years ago.

  • Joe

    “The DFL Public School system has sexually abused more children in the past few years than the entire history of the Catholic Church in the State of Minnesota.”

    Source, please. Attribute your claims or be disregarded by thinking people.

    • Victim Du Jour

      Look up Dr Charol Shakeshaft from Hofsta University.

  • Joe

    Source for this claim?

  • Melissa

    If this particular priest did abuse this young man, he probably wasn’t the only victim. Maybe this article will give any other victims the courage to step forward. Also, if someone was abused as a child, their emotional, psychological and spiritual well being has been traumatized, so although they could be diagnosed as “mentally ill”, it would be only as a result of the abuse inflicted upon them. Final note: our God is merciful, but He is also just. Abusers will be held accountable.

  • Arcy

    For heaven’s sake. The percentage of priests who are abusers is no different than the percentage of teachers, dog catchers,doctors who abuse. Get over it people the scandal was also in the secret keeping!! Parents, police and the abused all kept the secret!! The Church is attempting to fix this problem. What are the parents and police departments doing? Last I heard a wife of a policeman who calls in getting beaten by the officer, gets no where in MANY places. BIG news bad people are EVERY WHERE even in a church run by HUMANS!! Celibacy and pedophilia are NOT CONNECTED EVER!! One has nothing to do with the other. The ignorance of opinionated people is astonishing!

    • Victim Du Jour

      The media spins it like Priests deserve special attention for it.

      During the 70’s and 80’s, public schools were passing the trash. Before anyone had sex abuse policies.

      Public schools are protected from sex abuse lawsuits, so there is no money in it for lawyers.

      So essentially the media and the DFL is covering it up too.

  • Bill

    What has been observed and, most importantly, reported on in recent years has initially been ignored by the Catholic Church and then seemingly passed off as the Church not doing so good of a jod in weeding out homosexual priests or priestw ith the same tendencies. I am afraid the the “cause/effect” is not due to repressed homosexual feelings but repressed sexuality. Let us remember that it wasn’t Jesua, God, or the Holy Spirit who mandated priest celibacy…..it was a group of HUMANS post Council of Trent. Unfortunately the humans are too arrogant to admit that this has been a failed experiment.

    No, this is not “Catholic Bashing”……it is trying to right the ship….Peace

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