Msgr. Lawrence St. Peter – Archdiocese of Denver

| Apr 28, 2019 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

Monsignor Lawrence St. Peter

Archdiocese of Denver

Ordained: 1959

Absent on leave: 1993

Died: 2003

Assigned as follows:

  • 1959-1970: St. John the Evangelist (Denver, CO)
  • 1966-1972: Archdiocesan Schools (Denver, CO)
  • 1970-1972: Mother of God (Denver, CO)
  • 1972-1982: Holy Family (Denver, CO)
  • 1978-1980: East Denver Deanery (Denver, CO)
  • 1982-1985: Immaculate Heart of Mary, Northglenn, CO
  • 1982-1988: Vicar for Priests (Denver, CO)
  • 1985-1989: Mother of God (Denver, CO)
  • 1986-1988: Presbyteral Council (Denver, CO)
  • 1986-1993: Building Commission (Denver, CO)
  • 1989-1993: Church of the Risen Christ (Denver, CO)
  • 1989-1993: Southeast Denver Deanery (Denver, CO)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Msgr. Lawrence St. Peter:

Msgr. Lawrence St. Peter was ordained a priest in 1959, and served in multiple parishes in the Archdiocese of Denver. According to media reports, in 2008, he was identified as a priest accused of sexual abuse in a global settlement involving 18 victims of sexual abuse by three priests.  No details relating to the allegation were made public, as the settlement was made pre-suit.

In October 2019, the Colorado Attorney General released a detailed report of a special investigation into the handling of child sexual abuse allegations by Colorado’s three Catholic dioceses.  For the first time, the details of multiple documented allegations of sexual abuse against Msgr. St. Peter were made public.

Notably, St. Peter held high-ranking positions in the Archdiocese of Denver Chancery in the 1980s, including one that gave him direct access to his own personnel file.  According to documents reviewed by the AG investigators, Archdiocese officials confirmed in 2013 that St. Peter “sanitized” his own file.  While investigators could find no one with direct knowledge of the document destruction, the circumstantial evidence was overwhelming.  For example, one former Vicar for Clergy recalled telling an Archbishop and 2 auxiliary bishops that St. Peter was sent for psychological treatment twice after allegations of abuse in the 1970s, but no documents were found in his personnel file regarding the allegations or treatment.  In the 1990s, another Vicar for Clergy reconstructed the allegations as best as he could, talking with multiple former Chancery officials and priests who recalled discussing allegations of abuse against St. Peter throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

Investigators concluded that “St. Peter’s sexual misconduct with children was an open secret within the Denver Archdiocese at least as of the early 1970s.”  One priest said he personally knew of “seven or eight high school boys and young men [who] told me that they had been approached sexually or fondled by Fr. St. Peter.”  He personally reported abuse allegations to the Archdiocese in the 1970s.  A former rector at St. Thomas Seminary also received firsthand reports from at least two seminarians that St. Peter had raped one of them in the Spring of 1970.

In total, the AG investigators reviewed the allegations of three men who said they were abused as young boys by Msgr. St. Peter.

Victim #1 was a student and altar boy at St. John the Evangelist (now called Good Shepherd) in Denver when he was sexually abused.  Over the course of five years, starting when he was 12 years old, the man says he was abused throughout the Archdiocese, and often involved St. Peter getting him drunk.

Victim #2 was in high school when he was first abused by St. Peter in 1975.  At the time, St. Peter was assigned to Holy Family in Denver.  The boy reported the abuse to the Denver Archdiocese immediately, along with a high school teacher and parish priest.  Others reported it to at least two Auxiliary Bishops on the boy’s behalf as well. Additional reports were made by those with knowledge of the abuse in the decades that followed.

Victim #3 was sexually abused by St. Peter dozens of times, starting in 1978 when he was 15.  The abuse occurred mainly in St. Peter’s rectory room at Holy Family.  At the time, St. Peter was also president of Holy Family High School.

From what Denver Archdiocese could reconstruct in the 1990s, Msgr. St. Peter was sent for treatment and counseling at least three times, including a six month inpatient stay at St. Luke Institute, a notorious treatment facility for pedophile priests in Maryland.  Parishioners were told that the priest was an alcoholic and did not inform anyone about the numerous sexual abuse allegations against him.

St. Peter died in 2003 in Denver, Colorado.  He was never laicized by the Vatican and remained a priest on “medical disability” at the time of his death.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of Denver in Colorado. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Colorado, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Archdiocese of Denver now have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Colorado and nationwide. We can help.

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