- Associated Press - Thursday, September 3, 2015

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri advocate who says he was sexually abused by a priest as a teenager said Thursday that he received $40,000 from the Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City.

A spokesman for the diocese, Deacon Dan Joyce, confirmed Thursday that the diocese provided $40,000 to David Clohessy, who serves as the national director of an advocacy group for victims of clergy sexual abuse. The diocese did not provide further details about the out-of-court settlement.

Joyce said that staff met with Clohessy earlier this year after he contacted them regarding his allegations of abuse by the Rev. John Whiteley. Joyce said Bishop John Gaydos later wrote to Clohessy “to extend to him an apology for the abuse that he reported.” Joyce said the diocese last month gave Clohessy money to “help him with his needs for healing.”

Clohessy, of St. Louis, had sued the diocese in 1991 over the allegations that Whiteley abused him at St. Pius X Parish in Moberly.

Joyce said the diocese placed Whiteley on leave after the allegations arose and said he has not acted as a priest in the diocese since.

Clohessy’s lawsuit was dismissed in 1993 because the statute of limitations had run out.

The Associated Press tried a phone number listed for Whiteley but it was disconnected. A message left Thursday at another phone number linked to him was not immediately returned.

Clohessy now is national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a position he’s served in since 1991.

Clohessy said he met with diocese staffers in January - more than two decades after he sued - and requested $200,000 for therapy and medical expenses. He said he also asked the diocese to publicly post the names of “proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics.”

“As I age and my kids age, I’m gradually becoming even more aware of what was taken from me and from us because of a serial predator priest and a sick clerical system,” Clohessy said in a statement, adding that he might seek therapy on and off for the rest of his life.

Clohessy said part of the out-of-court settlement included an agreement that he would not take legal action against the diocese.

Joyce said children in the diocese Catholic schools and catechism programs are educated about sexual abuse, how to protect themselves and what to do if they are abused. He said employees and other adults in the church also receive training, and the diocese encourages those who have been abused or witnessed abuse to contact law enforcement and a church administrator.

This version of the story has been corrected to show Clohessy is the national director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, not the founder.

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