December 04, 2002 11:00 pm

Article soils priest's reputation

To the Editor:

This letter is written in support of Fr. Jocelyn St. Arnaud who was a priest at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Elgin for many years. Hundreds of people in the Grande Ronde Valley knew and loved him. By his outstanding Christian example and character he changed the lives of countless people for the better, including his accusers.

We the undersigned, both Catholic and non-Catholic, are compelled to point out the irresponsibility of the report in the Nov. 19 Observer regarding the allegations concerning Fr. Jocelyn. This story was presented to the news media by the alleging lawyer before he had filed the complaint in any jurisdiction, and before the church was notified.

By lifting it off the wire and printing it in this manner, you have contributed to defaming the reputation of Fr. Jocelyn. You have also defamed the entire Catholic community in Union County.

You presented information in your story as if it were factual when it is not. You failed to investigate the allegations made, the facts presented, and you failed to talk to anyone in our community about this matter.

Justice requires a presumption of innocence. Not only was this principle completely disregarded, you used sensational tactics to present mere allegations and quotes that were libelous and insulting.

We realize that this story was taken off the wire, but since it is of great local interest, the way in which you presented it was reprehensible.

We wish to state to the community at large our support for the moral integrity of Fr. Jocelyn whose memory we hold very dear, and we pray for the conversion of the hearts of his accusers.

Signed by the following:


Gary Bottger

Patrick McDonald

Natalie McDonald

Colleen McDonald

Amanda McDonald

Mary Rose Nichols

Dona Schram Fortenberry

Theresa Schumacher

Derv Fortenberry

Kristin Schumacher

John Schumacher

Ed Schumacher

Charlie Schumacher

Joe Garlitz

Angelea Schumacher

Irene Garlitz

Maureen Smolkowski

Al Smolkowski

Sharon Stover

Kathy Warren

K. Warren

Ann R. Warren

Therese J. Wiles

Hailey A. Wiles

De'Leah Wiles

Chelsie A. Wiles

Bob Scott Wiles

Adrianne M. Wiles

Judy Witherspoon

Jim Witherspoon

Phillip Wyles

Linda Wyles

Richard Griffin

Roy Howell

Julia Howell

Kay Hanson

La Grande:

Jim D. Brown

Barbara E. Brown

Daniel Pokorney

Justin J. Fessler

Jane Hamm

Susan J. Harsin

Douglas G. Harsin

Darwin D. Harsin

Mary Calder

Rita M. Ellison

T. William Selman

Fr. Hank Albrecht

Susan Selman

Les Ihli

Bob Cooper

Teresa Woody

Charlene Storoe

Lynne Brown

Sue Becker

Rob Becker

Jocelyn Berado

Sarah Jane Williamson-Shoup


Vicki Correll

Nelson Correll

Emily Correll

J. Ray Harmon

Dayle Ann Harmon

Sharon Woody

Elizabeth Woody

Tom Woody


Vicki J. Fessler

David J. Fessler


Roger Goodman

Kathy Goodman


Tim Hagey

Don Hagey

Adrienne Hagey


Tim McDaniel

Denise McDaniel

Other locations:

Kristi L. Ricketts, Moscow, Idaho

Chela Pruit, Glenns Ferry, Idaho

Serena Garlitz, Columbus, Ohio

Paul Garlitz, Medford

John Garlitz, Alena Garlitz, both of Portland

Brian and Ginger Afdahl, Milton-Freewater

Frank Hanson, Keizer

Locations not listed:

Heidi Schram Denton

Scott Schram

Deb Horn Schram

Julie Williamson