Springfield couple reveals identities in sexual abuse lawsuit against local Catholic Church

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo - Springfield couple, Gail and Jon Herbert, decided to come forward and reveal their identities after filing a lawsuit in August against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau and Troy Casteel, director of family ministries, for years of sexual and emotional abuse. They hope to help someone else through their pain.

"I'm angry and I fight to not feel shame ... but I refuse to feel shame," Gail Herbert said.

Gail Herbert says the couple went to Casteel for marriage counseling beginning in 2013. He then used the information in those therapy sessions as weapons. The lawsuit says she "was sexually abused on property."

"Whenever it was happening I was feeling confused, I was feeling guilty," Gail Herbert said. "I didn't understand how I could do the things that I was doing."

The lawsuit filed in August claims top diocese officials knew this abuse was happening.

During the interview, Bishop Edward Rice, came and listened to part of the interview and appeared to record it on his phone. When approached by David Clohessy, St. Louis Director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), Rice chose not to comment and walked away. Clohessy says he hopes Rice and other church leaders will step up to report any wrongdoing.

Jon Herbert, husband, says his wife has had to overcome many obstacles and they are working through them together. They believe this was a case of "therapy abuse." He hopes to see changes in the church and to Missouri law.

"It is considered abuse, even criminal abuse in half the states of our country," Jon Herbert said.

The Herberts say they will now focus on moving forward. They say their faith is still intact.

"It's not about God, it's about human beings," Gail Herbert said.

Casteel was not a priest but the Director of Family Ministries within the church until 2016. Another sexual misconduct claim was filed against him with the state in 2014. His license was placed on probation for three years after he admitted to wrongdoing. Documents show his license was never renewed after it expired in June 2017.