"Shackles, hanging from the ceiling, and a tombstone with somebody's name on it. ... But that wasn't the real problem," she said, shaking her head.Poole previously served at parishes in Belleville and Breese, Illinois. The church wouldn't disclose his current assignment and called it "a personnel matter."
"There was just stuff everywhere. It's a shambles. You couldn't put your hand on a wall because there were things nailed up everywhere, every inch. The walls in every room have to be replaced. There's holes everywhere. On the walls. The floor. Just stuff. Movie posters. Thousands of things. You couldn't live in there. ... A priest who comes over to help us out wouldn't stay there overnight."
Burkitt said that she and several other women of the parish were told by Knapp that "every item" had to be inventoried, and then only Poole's possessions from a sitting room and one of three bedrooms could be removed. They were reminded that the diocese owned the rectory, not the parishioners.Read the whole sordid tale, which also details Poole's arrest for filing a false police report and his parish's struggle to get the Catholic church to appoint a replacement and fix up Poole's disaster of a room over here.
"It was just an awful pile of stuff," Burkitt said. These items were locked in a church garage. She described the shackles as two chains with what looked like handcuffs at the end.
As for the tombstone, Burkitt said it was described to her as being about 3 feet high and of stone with incised letters.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.