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Kansas City-St. Joseph Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawyer

Kansas City-St. Joseph DioceseMany Roman Catholics are drawn to the Church due to its spiritual guidance, offers of forgiveness, and strong family values. Most parishioners are baptized in the faith just after birth and confirm their commitment to the Church at their “confirmation” at eight or nine years of age. Unfortunately, some clergy members and religious leaders use the Church’s power of authority to control parishioners through sexual molestation, sodomy, and rape.

In Missouri, nearly 200 predatory priests have faced accusations of sexual assault involving innocent children and vulnerable adults. Many of these allegations involve child sex abuse from decades ago. While the Church and law enforcement have held some clergy molesters accountable, most predatory priests are allowed to remain active in their ministry with access to young children.

Kansas City-St. Joseph Dioceses Sexual Abuse Attorney

The compassionate attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC believe that every sexual abuse survivor deserves to be heard. Our team of legal experts has served as advocates for sexual assault victims in dioceses statewide. With our years of experience, we follow federal and Missouri state laws to take immediate action when helping victims seek justice.

After listening to your horrific story of sexual abuse, we can provide immediate legal advice and show you different options on how to resolve your case successfully. We have handled sexual abuse cases involving the Roman Catholic Church, youth organizations, religious institutions, universities, private and public schools, and healthcare providers.

Some of the cases we have handled involve clergy rape, sexual assault, sodomy, child pornography, fondling, and non-consensual oral sex with priests of most religious orders. We will fight back against the Roman Catholic Church on your behalf to ensure you are protected throughout the settlement process. Contact us now at (888) 424-5757, so we can begin working on your case today.

Religious Leaders Remain Silent on Priests Accused of Rape

In May 2020, Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Binzer resigned from his position for his failure to report to his superiors about a Reverend facing charges of sexually assaulting a child. At the time of his resignation, Binzer served as the Cincinnati Diocese Bishop. Before he resigned from his position, Church officials had already removed the Bishop as a Priest Personnel Director because he “failed to bring past concerns about Father Geoffrey Drew’s conduct to the attention of Archbishop Dennis Schnurr.”

However, even though Binzer was released from his post as the Priest Personnel Director and resigned from his position as Auxiliary Bishop, the Roman Catholic Church allowed him to remain in “active ministry” for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

New Names Added to the List

In February 2020, local law enforcement arrested seventy-six-year-old Reverend Frederick Lutz, a retired priest. The Reverend faced multiple counts of child sexual molestation, forced sodomy, and two counts of statutory sodomy.

The arrest of Father Lutz was a part of a thirteen-month investigation into a dozen priests facing allegations of sexual misconduct. The charging documents indicate that Reverend Lutz molested an underage child in 2000 while he was assigned to serve parishioners at the Advance, MO St. Joseph Parish.

Evidence shows that the priest called the teenager into the St. Joseph Parish rectory while he was watching pornography and drinking alcohol, forcing the boy to perform sexual acts. The sexual abuse survivor told his father immediately what had occurred. The victim’s father then told a parish teacher about Lutz.

The Reverend spoke with a teacher and allegedly told him that he and his boyfriend had recently broken up. Allegedly, the boyfriend was living at the Church rectory at the time of their relationship. During the investigation, it was revealed that Lutz faced accusations years before in an incident that happened in 1972.

At that time, another seventeen-year-old working in Cape Girardeau on a summer job at St. Mary’s Catholic Parish was allegedly sexually assaulted. The child woke up after drinking alcohol the night before with the priest touching him. After Lutz’s arrest, the court set his cash-only bond at $125,000.

In September 2019, the Attorney General for the State of Missouri referred a dozen religious leaders for prosecution on charges of suspected sexual assault. A 329-page report details evidence found in the investigation involving over 2000 religious leaders who had served parishes throughout the state of Missouri for nearly seven decades. The investigators looked into evidence involving bishops, priests, religious women, seminarians, and deacons in the state’s four dioceses.

The state’s inquiry identified 163 cases of credible allegations of sexual misconduct. The sexual abuse of minors occurred at the hands of Catholic diocesan deacons and priests. Less than half of the named priests and deacons are still alive. The statute of limitations has expired on forty-six of the remaining cases.

The Devastating Scars of Sexual Abuse

Sexual assault among clergy members is abhorrent and repugnant. The inappropriate actions of a priest or other religious leader can leave the victim with lifelong scars. Often, severe consequences can compromise the victim’s health for decades.

Sexual abuse of an innocent victim by a Roman Catholic priest’s betrays the trust developed between church leaders and parishioners. Many sexual abuse survivors must continually deal with the emotional scars that often change their behaviors. Some of the indicators of child sex abuse include:

  • Toddlers, pre-teens, and teenagers wetting the bed
  • The fear of being around specific individuals
  • Fear of being alone, fear of the dark and nightmares
  • Conspicuous displays of withdrawal or insecurity
  • Unexplained fear or worry over apparently nothing
  • Never wanting to take off their clothes when bathing or changing
  • Talking nonstop about sexual activity
  • Drawing pictures or simulating sexual activity
  • Unexplained changes in their eating habits including difficulty in swallowing, a decreased appetite, or not wanting to eat

Victims who were sexually abused during their childhood years might deal with lasting depression and anxiety. The lives of some sexual assault survivors are affected by post-traumatic stress disorder behaviors, sex addiction, thoughts of suicide, extreme alcoholism, excessive smoking, or other serious health condition.

Kansas City-St. Joseph Pays Sexual Abuse Victims

In recent years, Pope Francis, the Vatican, and the Roman Catholic Church have taken an alternate view on how to handle predatory priests among the congregation. Before, child sex abuse among clergy members was handled at the local level, where the Bishop took steps to verify any allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct among priests.

In October 2014, the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese agreed to a negotiated $9.95 million financial settlement to resolve sexual abuse claims involving the Diocese’s priests. The financial agreement settled more than two dozen pending claims that had been filed by sexual abuse survivors between 2010 and 2014. Some of the allegations of sexual misconduct happened over two decades ago by abusive priests.

Most of the settlement funds were paid by insurance policy coverage for the Diocese. The remainder was paid by the Roman Catholic Church. This settlement was not the only financial agreement for sexual misconduct in Missouri that had been filed in recent years.

In 2008, the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph agreed to a $10 million negotiated settlement to resolve cases involving forty-seven plaintiffs. The victims stated that many priests had sexually abused them repeatedly when the young victims were children.

In one case, in 2012, a religious leader pled guilty on charges of producing child pornography. At that time, the court convicted Bishop Robert Flynn of the Diocese for his failure to alert proper authorities to the massive amount of child pornography images found on the Reverend’s computer.

Hiring a Roman Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph Sexual Abuse Attorney

In recent years, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has obtained over $250 million in financial compensation on behalf of our clients. We have obtained monetary recovery for victims of sexual abuse through trial awards and negotiated settlements. Let us help your family too.

Are you the victim of child sex abuse by a priest, bishop, or another clergy member? If so, we can help. Contact us today (888) 424-5757 to discuss your new pathways to healing. Our law firm will listen intently to your horrific story during a free initial consultation in a confidential setting. All information you share with our law office will remain confidential.

Jonathan Rosenfeld handles all cases of clergy sexual abuse through contingency fee agreements. This arrangement provides immediate legal action without the need to pay an upfront fee. We receive payments for our services only after we have secured financial compensation on your behalf through an award or settlement.

Time is of the essence. All the necessary paperwork and documentation must be filed in the appropriate county courthouse before the state statute of limitations expires. Our legal team of sexual assault attorneys accepts all clergy sexual abuse cases where the priest, brother, or other religious leader is still in “active ministry,” has been laicized (removed from the Church), is on administrative leave, has retired from the priesthood, or is deceased.

List of Clergy Abusers in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph

Ahern, James

Ordained: 1930
In 2019, the Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph publicly named Father James Ahern with credible allegations of sexual misconduct involving an innocent victim. Church officials conducted an internal investigation concerning the accusation involving a single victim. The results of the investigation substantiated the allegation.

Current Status: Died: 1970


Baskett, John C.

Ordained: 1945
In 2007, Father John C. Baskett faced accusations that he seduced a fifteen-year-old female while using alcohol to incapacitate his victim. The alleged assault occurred in 1952. In March 2008, the alleged victim filed a civil lawsuit against Reverend Baskett and the Roman Catholic Church. The victim stated that the sexual molestation involved sexual intercourse that continued until 1954. Afterward, Church officials reassigned Father Baskett to another parish located in what became the Diocese of Jefferson City. By 1955, the priest became a chaplain in the Air Force in Kansas City, Missouri, before being reassigned as an active priest in the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau. The Catholic directory shows the priest’s address in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, between 1978 and 1979 in the Diocese of Raleigh. More than a decade after his death in Las Vegas in 1995, the Roman Catholic Church settled a civil lawsuit in August 2008 for $10 million in cases that involve a dozen priests, including Baskett. Church documents reveal that he left the priesthood in 1975. Father Baskett’s name appears on the September 2019 Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese’s list and the April 2019 Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau list.

Current Status: Died: 1995


Brewer, Michael E.

Ordained: 1986
In 1990, Father Michael E. Brewer faced allegations that he fondled an underage male who spent the night at the rectory. When the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph was informed of the alleged sexual molestation involving a seventeen-year-old boy, they replied, “this happens to young men all the time.” Church officials stated that the alleged sexual abuse survivor “would get over it.” At trial, the court dismissed six out of nine of the counts that were filed against the defendants. The case reached the Ct. App., where the judges allowed the claims of negligent supervision to be included during the trial. In 1997, a ruling by the Missouri Supreme Court clarified that judges and jurors should not question how Church officials supervise clergy members. The Church permanently removed Reverend Brewer from active ministry. His name appears in the September 2019 Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph list with credible allegations involving multiple victims.

Current Status: Removed from active ministry


Cameron M., Robert

Ordained: 1959
In 2019, the Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph publicly named Father Robert Cameron with credible allegations of sexual misconduct involving an innocent victim. The Church conducted an internal investigation concerning the accusation involving one victim. The results of the investigation substantiated the allegation after Cameron’s death

Current Status: Died: 2015


Coury, Philip J.

Ordained: 1971
In April 2017, the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph announced that Church officials had received a credible accusation involving Father Philip J. Coury’s inappropriate sexual behavior. The alleged sexual molestation occurred between 1975 and 1978 while Reverend Coury worked as a staff member at St. John Minor Seminary. In response, the Vincentian Order restricted the priest’s active ministry before it notified the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese about his unacceptable actions. When the announcement was made to the public, Father Coury did not live in the Diocese. Church officials permanently removed Coury from active ministry. The priest’s name appears on the 2019 Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese list.

Current Status: Removed from active ministry


Cronin, Thomas

Ordained: 1969
In October 2010, a woman in Missouri filed a civil lawsuit accusing Father Thomas Cronin and Father John Tulipana of sexual molestation at different times. The women discussed with the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph the inappropriate sexual activity involving the priests that occurred in 1979. At the time of the alleged assaults, the victim was seventeen years old and confessing to Reverend Cronin that a relative was sexually abusing her. In response, Father Cronin sexually assaulted her on numerous occasions. In 1996, Cronin left his position in Kansas City for reassignment in Reno Nevada as a hospital chaplain. In 2004, the priest retired from active ministry. By 2010, he worked in Nevada as the St. Mary in the Mountains’ Administrator. In 2010, Roman Catholic Church officials removed Reverend Cronin from active ministry. Church documents reveal that the priest was involved with a homeless woman at Rachel’s Sanctuary in Nevada. Cronin’s name appears on the 2019 Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph list with notations that he was “unsuitable for ministry out of concern for the safety of our youth.”

Current Status: Removed from active ministry


Deming, Robert Noel

Ordained: 1958
In 2019, the Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph publicly named Father Robert Noel Deming with credible allegations of sexual misconduct involving an innocent victim. The Church conducted an internal investigation concerning the accusation involving one victim. The results of the investigation substantiated the allegation.

Current Status: Died: 2019


Ford, James H.

Ordained: 1973
In February 2012, Father James H. Ford was named in a civil lawsuit alleging the priest sexually molested an underage male during the 1970s. At the time of the alleged assault until 1983, Reverend Ford was assigned to three different Kansas City area parishes as an associate pastor. Before working at an adult religious training center, he received an advanced degree. In 1986, Father Ford resigned from active ministry and died six years later, possibly of AIDS. Three years after the priest’s death in 1995, the alleged victim spoke with the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and accepted a settlement that included paid counseling. Reverend Ford’s name appears on the September 2019 Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese list that revealed multiple allegations of sexual misconduct that had been substantiated.

Current Status: Died: 1992


Fraser, Burton J.

Ordained: 1935
In 2019, the Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph publicly named Father Burton J. Fraser with credible allegations of sexual misconduct involving an innocent victim. Allegations arose after Reverend Fraser’s death that in the 1950s, claiming that the priest was a sexual molester. However, there are no details of where the alleged abuse happened. Church notes identified a single allegation of abuse that allegedly occurred between 1953 and 1957 when Reverend Fraser served as a military chaplain. Father Fraser was ordained into the Roman Catholic Church for the Missouri Province and, in 1955, became a member of the Wisconsin province after it was formed.

Current Status: Died: 1971


Geimer, Richard

Ordained: ?
In November 2013, Church officials from the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph terminated Brother Richard Geimer from his position at Archbishop O’Hara High School. The month before, a high school student found an inappropriate photograph involving a minor on a school computer and notified school administrators. At the time of his termination, Brother Geimer had worked for the school system for twenty-eight years. The high school principal stated that the photograph was disturbing enough to warrant an immediate termination because it involved an underage child. The Church terminated the member of the Brothers of the Christian Schools before the investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation was completed.

Current Status: Terminated from his high school position


Giacopelli, John

Ordained: 1959
In 2019, the Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph publicly named Father John Giacopelli with credible allegations of sexual misconduct involving an innocent victim. The Church conducted an internal investigation concerning the accusation involving one victim. The results of the investigation substantiated the allegation.

Current Status: Died: 2018


Hart (Bp), Joseph

Ordained: 1956
The Bishop of the Diocese of Cheyenne, Wyoming (1976 through 2001), who also served as a Diocese of Kansas City-St Joseph priest, resigned after allegations arose of sexual misconduct. Bishop Joseph Hart faced two allegations of abusing underage males during the late 1960s into the early 1970s at the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. Church officials ordered the priest to undergo a psychological evaluation and allowed him to return to active ministry in Wyoming. In 2002, the Bishop faced additional accusations of sexually assaulting an underage male in 1976 in Wyoming. However, the local District Attorney’s Office cleared the charges finding the accuser not credible. In 2004, Bishop Hart was named in a civil lawsuit by three alleged sexual abuse survivors who claimed that they were harmed when they were underage. In 2005, other lawsuits were filed. In August 2008, the Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph settled multiple cases. By November 2011, Bishop Hart faced another accusation in a civil lawsuit. In 2014, the Diocese settled more cases. By July 2018, Bishop Hart was named in an investigation after another alleged victim accused the priest of sexual abuse in Wyoming when his accuser was a child. An investigation was conducted, and the allegation was found to be credible. The investigator stated that the earlier investigation in 2002 was flawed and that those claims by victims were credible. The Church sent the report to the Vatican. The Bishop was allowed to remain in ministry with restrictions. Bishop Hart denied the allegations. In October 2018, the investigation was reopened. In September 2019, the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph announced that there were three additional new credible allegations. Bishop Hart’s name appears on the November 2019 Diocese of Cheyenne list with notations of six male accusers alleging sexual abuse involving Hart occurring between 1977 and 1983 when the victims were teenagers.

Current Status: Named in a civil lawsuit


Honhart/Honart, Mark A.

Ordained: 1980
In March 2011, Father Mark A. Honhart was named in a civil lawsuit alleging sexual molestation occurring between 1985 and 1986. At the time of the alleged assault, the victim was eight or nine years old at the Kansas City Holy Cross Parish. The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph settled the case in 2015. Reverend Honhart and an additional defendant, Father Hugh Monahan, faced accusations of sexually molesting the same boy when the child was thirteen years old. Before his transfer to Pennsylvania in 2003, Reverend Honhart was assigned to work at churches in Missouri from 1980 until 2002. Church officials of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph said that there were no complaints made to Church superiors in Missouri while the priest was in active ministry. In February 2011, the Diocese of Scranton placed Father Honhart on leave due to “health reasons” after Church officials learned of his past accusations. During Honhart’s career, he also worked at churches throughout New Mexico. In August 2011 and November 2011, new lawsuits were filed against the Reverend and the Roman Catholic Church. Honhart was named in the August 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report, misspelling his name (Honart). The Roman Catholic church permanently removed Father Honhart from active ministry. His name appears on the September 2019 Kansas City St. Joseph Diocese list, revealing multiple substantiated the accusations.

Current Status: Removed from active ministry


Hoppe, Sylvester J.

Ordained: 1946
In June 2002, a California man filed a civil lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Church and Father Sylvester J. Hoppe, accusing the priest of sexual molestation that lasted three years. When the alleged assaults began in 1951, the victim was twelve years old. The alleged sexual abuse survivor states that the molestation took place in Missouri and at the California Boy Scout Jamboree. When Reverend Hoppe was nine years old, Church officials at the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph banned him from celebrating mass. His accuser says that in 1985, he notified local law enforcement. However, there were no complaint records found. In September 2003, Church officials settled the case with the victim for $10,000. By 2005, two more men filed a civil lawsuit accusing Father Hoppe of sexually molesting them during the 1950s. Hoppe passed away in 2002. By August 2008, the Church settled his claims that alleged sexual abuse as a part of the Diocese $10 million settlement involving a dozen religious leaders. In December 2017, the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph acknowledged that they had received a seventh claim alleging child sexual abuse involving the priest the dated back to 1953 through 1956. His name appears on the September 2019 KC-St. Joseph Diocese list that includes substantiated allegations involving sexual misconduct of clergy members.

Current Status: Died: 2002


Jakubowski, Joseph

Ordained: 1940
In 2019, the Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph publicly named Father Joseph Jakubowski with credible allegations of sexual misconduct involving an innocent victim. The Church conducted an internal investigation concerning accusations involving multiple victims. The results of the investigation substantiated the allegations.

Current Status: Died: 2005


Johnson, Earl

Ordained: ?
In June 2008, Brother Earl Johnson was named in a civil lawsuit accusing him of sexually molesting an underage male in the Kansas City Saint Elizabeth Parish. The alleged sexual assault lasted for three years during the 1970s. The civil lawsuit states that on one incident of sexual molestation, a priest closed the door where the sexual assault was occurring. At some point, Johnson left the Capuchin Order of Brothers. By 2008, he was likely working as a public elementary school teacher in Kansas. In August 2008, the Diocese of Kansas City-St Joseph settled cases involving Brother Johnson as part of the $10 million negotiated settlement that included a dozen priests. Brother Johnson’s name appears on the September 2019 Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph list.

Current Status: Named in a civil lawsuit


Lawbaugh, James

Ordained: 1966
In February 2008, Father James Lawbaugh was named in a civil lawsuit with accusations that he sexually molested a ten-year-old male in 1968 at the Kansas City, MO  St. Vincent’s Parish. In 1969, Reverend Lawbaugh left the priesthood and the Vincentian Order to get married. When the lawsuit was served, Lawbaugh was living in Florida and denied all allegations. In August 2008, the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph resolved the claim against Father James Lawbaugh as a part of their $10 million negotiated settlement involving twelve religious leaders an multiple plaintiffs. Lawbaugh’s name appears on the September 2019 KC-St. Joseph Diocese list.

Current Status: Named in a civil lawsuit


McGlynn, Francis E.

Ordained: 1954
In 2003, Father Francis E. McGlynn was named in a civil lawsuit where the plaintiff alleged that the priest sexually molested him between 1971 and 1974. At the time of the alleged assault, the victim was a St. Mary’s Catholic Parish altar boy. In 1992, Reverend McGlynn retired from active priesthood. In 2002, Church officials removed all of the priest’s privileges. By October 2010, the trial was set to be heard. However, just before trial, the Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph negotiated an acceptable settlement with the plaintiff for $225,000. In 2003 and 2004, two additional female alleged victims filed separate lawsuits against Father McGlynn claiming inappropriate sexual contact. By August 2008, a case involving one of his victims was settled as a part of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese $10 million settlement that involved a dozen priests. In October 2011, another female alleged victim filed a civil lawsuit claiming the Reverend sexually assaulted her in 1963 and 1964. McGlynn died in May 2002. The plaintiff dropped the Reverend’s name from the lawsuit but still named the KC-St. Joseph Diocese as a defendant. Father Francis E. McGlynn’s name appeared on the September 2019 Diocese list of accused clergy members with multiple allegations of sexual misconduct deemed to be credible.

Current Status: Died: 2012


Monahan, Hugh F.

Ordained: 1968
In the early 2000s, six men filed five separate civil lawsuits alleging that Father Hugh F. Monahan sexually assaulted them when they were children during the mid-1980s. One of Reverend Monahan’s victims, his nephew, claims that the priest sexually assaulted him, starting when the boy was only eleven years old. The victim says that the alleged abuse, including rape, lasted for five years. Another of his alleged victims stated that he lived with the priest for some time and that officials in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph knew about it. In 1973, Father Monahan took a leave of absence from active ministry before returning. He left again in 1989 and likely relocated to Puerto Rico. An August 2008 negotiated settlement resolved some claims involving Reverend Monahan. The settlement was part of the $10 million negotiated agreement with numerous plaintiffs and the Roman Catholic Church that involved a dozen priests, including Father Monahan. In March 2011, Monahan and another religious leader were named in a new filed civil lawsuit by another alleged victim. Monahan’s name also appeared in a newly filed August 2011 lawsuit. His name appears in the September 2019 Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph list that also notes that multiple allegations of sexual misconduct had been substantiated. The Vatican laicized (defrocked – removed from the priesthood) Monahan.

Current Status: Laicized – Removed from the priesthood by Vatican


Muth, Stephen J.

Ordained: 1982
In 2004 Church officials from the Diocese of Kansas City-St Joseph removed Father Stephen J. Muth from active ministry after an allegation arose that he sexually molested an underage boy in 1992. The allegations of sexual assault occurred when the child was twelve years old and again later during the victim’s adult years. In April 2006, the plaintiff filed a civil lawsuit. Church officials investigated the allegations and cleared Reverend Muth of any wrongdoing. The civil lawsuit filed against Father Muth and another religious leader was dismissed in April 2009. A news article published in June 2019 claimed that Muth was actively ministering to the congregation in Missouri, Texas, and Whiting, Indiana. In January 2018, he retired from the priesthood. Later that year in October, the Eparchy placed Father Muth on administrative leave. His name appears on the September 2019 Diocese of Wichita, Kansas list, and the September 2019 KC-St. Joseph diocese list.

Current Status: Removed from active ministry


O’Brien, Thomas J., Msgr

Ordained: 1950
On five different occasions, Monsignor Thomas J O’Brien faced accusations of sexually assaulting children. Until he retired in April 2004, he worked as the Kansas City hospital chaplain and was often assigned to work at schools. In January 2004, several alleged victims of O’Brien filed a civil lawsuit claiming that the priest and two other religious leaders had sexually assaulted them years ago. Additional lawsuits were filed in 2004 and 2005. In April 2007, the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph settled some of the claims as a part of their $10 million or negotiated agreement involving a dozen priests, including O’Brien. In February, September, and November 2011, Monsignor O’Brien was named in over twenty-four civil lawsuits. In September 2013, during jury selection involving a wrongful death lawsuit, the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph agreed to a negotiated settlement with the plaintiffs for $2.5 million. In 2014, some of O’Brien’s victims were a part of the $10 million negotiated settlement that involved thirteen priests and thirty-one plaintiffs. The Reverend’s name appears on the April 2019 Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau updated list that notes allegations of sexual misconduct involving O’Brien had occurred between 1950 and 1954. The Monsignor’s name also appears on the September 2019 Kansas City St. Joseph Diocese list.

Current Status: Died: 2013


Parrott, Thomas

Ordained: 1950
In 2010, Father Thomas Parrott faced accusations that he sexually assaulted an underage boy for over two years. The alleged assault began in 1966 when the victim was fourteen years old and a Kansas City St. John’s Minor Seminary student. At that time, Reverend Parrott served the congregation as a confessor and spiritual advisor. His accuser settled his claim with the priest’s Vincentian Order. In 1987, Father Parrott retired from active ministry in the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau before relocating to Florida. His name appears on the April 2019 Springfield-Cape Girardeau Diocese list.

Current Status: Died: 1996


Parry, Bede

Ordained: 1983
In June 2011, Father Bede Parry faced allegations that he sexually assaulted an underage male at a summer choir camp in 1987. At that time, Benedictine Reverend Parry work in Northwest Missouri at the Conception Abbey as the Boys’ Choir Director. The priest was affiliated with the Benedictine Abbey since 1973. In 1981, Father Parry told the Abbot that between 1973 and 1979, he had inappropriate relationships with three people. In 2002, he was dismissed from his priestly duties. Two years later, he became a priest and the Episcopal Church in Las Vegas, Nevada. In 2011, while facing accusations in a civil lawsuit, he resigned from that position and admitted he had sexually assaulted several innocent victims. Two years before his death in 2013, he was named in additional civil lawsuit citing sexual molestation. His name appears on the April 2019 Diocese of Las Vegas list and the August 2019 Conception Abbey Benedictine’s list.

Current Status: Died: 2013


Probstfield, Regis

Ordained: 1957
In 2019, the Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph publicly named Father Regis Probstfield with credible allegations of sexual misconduct involving an innocent victim. Allegedly, the sexual molestation involving Reverend Regis Probstfield, a.k.a., Vernon Charles Probstfield, happened in 1976 in Missouri. Before 1981, Probstfield reportedly served the Roman Catholic Church at the Conception Abbey that is run by the Benedictine Order. The priest was then assigned as a parish pastor in Parnell, MO. In 1996, Probstfield returned to the Conception Abbey after working on assignment in North Dakota. The priest is the brother of Reverend Edgar Probstfield (O. S. B.), who has also been accused of sexual misconduct (see above).

Current Status: Died: 2008


Ratigan, Shawn Francis

Ordained: 2004
In May 2010, Father Shawn Francis Ratigan faced complaints made by a school principal of the priest’s inappropriate behavior. However, it took until December 2010 before Church officials at the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph removed Reverend Ratigan from his position at Saint Patrick. At that time, Church authorities found child pornography on the Reverend’s laptop. Father Ratigan attempted suicide. The Church told the police about the photograph, but law enforcement said it was not pornography. Officials for the Diocese of KC-St. Joseph reassigned Reverend Ratigan to celebrate mass only for nuns. The incidents of inappropriate behavior were reported to the police in May 2011. He was arrested the same month and faced several civil lawsuits. The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph settled some of the civil lawsuits, including one case that resulted in a $1.3 million negotiated agreement. In February 2014 the Church settled to more cases for $1.8 million. In 2013, Father Ratigan pled guilty to federal charges of pornography. In September of that year, he received a fifty year prison sentence. The following month, he received three seven-year sentences on state charges. In January 2014, the Vatican laicized (defrocked – removed from the priesthood) Ratigan. In September 2014, the Federal Court of Appeals upheld Ratigan’s fifty year prison sentence. His name appears on the September 2019 Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph list.

Current Status: Laicized – Removed from the priesthood by Vatican


Reardon, Thomas M.

Ordained: 1967
In 2004, Father Thomas M. Reardon was named in his first civil lawsuit by six alleged victims who claimed that Reverend Reardon and two other religious leaders sexually assaulted them. The alleged molestation occurred at church and a lake home. These alleged sexual abuse survivors stated that the men plied the kids with alcohol and drugs. In 1989, Father Reardon left active ministry. He later resigned from the priesthood. Throughout his career, he worked for the Roman Catholic Church as a substance abuse counselor. In April 2007, the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph reached a negotiated settlement with plaintiffs molested by Reverend Reardon and another priest. In August 2008, other claims were settled as a part of the KC-St. Joseph Diocese $10 million negotiated settlement involving a dozen priests. Father Reardon’s name appears in lawsuits in February 2011, April 2011, and November 2011, claiming sexual abuse involving underage males. In all, there was at leased two dozen accusers. In September 2018, another lawsuit was filed, alleging that Reverend Reardon as the sexual molester. Reardon’s name appears on the September 2019 Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph list with multiple allegations of sexual misconduct that were substantiated. The Vatican laicized (defrocked – removed from the priesthood) Reardon.

Current Status: Laicized – Removed from the priesthood by Vatican


Rice, Michael

Ordained: 1964
Father Michael Rice’s name appears on the September 2019 Diocese of in Kansas City-St. Joseph as a religious leader who served in the diocese that the Bishop found to be “unsuitable for ministry out of concern for the safety of our youth.” A 2002 news outlet revealed that Father Rice allowed the Reverend Thomas Ward, a priest with credible allegations of sexual misconduct, to assist at the Lee Summit, MO Saint Margaret’s Parish where Rice served as the Church’s pastor. He retired from active ministry in the early 2000s.

Current Status: Retired from active ministry


Sullivan (Bp), Joseph Vincent

Ordained: 1945
In April 2004, Bishop Joseph Vincent Sullivan’s name appeared in a filed civil lawsuit alleging he had sexually assaulted an underage male in 1975. At the time of the alleged sexual assault, the victim was seventeen years old. The Diocese of Baton Rouge Review Board deemed the allegations against him to be “serious and deserving of careful attention.” In October 2004, the case was settled, and the information sealed. In 2005, Bishop Sullivan’s name appeared in another civil lawsuit filed in Hawaii that dates back to the time that he was at the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. That case was settled in 2007. That same year, a new suit involving sexual misconduct was filed in Texas and settled two years later in October 2009 for $225,000. During Sullivan’s career, he was ordained for the Kansas City, MO Diocese and served as an Auxiliary Bishop in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph between 1967 in 1974. From 1974 until he died in 1982, he served as the Bishop of the Diocese of Baton Rouge, LA. The Bishop’s name appears on the 2019 Diocese of Baton Rouge list with notations involving multiple allegations reported to Church officials in 2004, 2005, 2007, and between 1974 and 1982. His name appears on the January 2019 Diocese of Corpus Christi list and the September 2019 KC-St. Joseph Diocese list.

Current Status: Died: 1982


Tasch, Hugh

Ordained: 1957
In 2019, the Conception Abbey Benedictines Order publicly named Father Hugh Tasch with credible allegations of sexual misconduct involving an innocent victim. The allegations involving Benedictine Reverend Robert Leo Tasch’s inappropriate sexual contact happened in Missouri.

Current Status: Died: 2017


Tierney, Michael

Ordained: 1969
In September 2010, Father Michael Tierney was named in a file civil lawsuit accusing him of fondling an underage male in 1971. At the time of the alleged assault, the thirteen-year-old victim was helping moving items at the Reverend’s mother’s home. In 2008, Church officials at the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph learned of the accusations. Reverend Tierney’s name appears in two other file civil lawsuits, but not as a defendant. By June 2011, the Church removed Father Michael Tierney from active ministry after he had already retired with privileges. At the time of his removal, credible reports arose of his inappropriate sexual conduct with children during the 1970s and 1980s. The priest denied the allegations. In June 2011, the Church received a second civil lawsuit regarding the abuse that occurred in the 1970s. More lawsuits were received in July and October 2011. The Missouri court dismissed part of the original lawsuit in July 2011 and May 2012. In November 2013, the Missouri Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal. The Reverend’s name appears on the September 2019 Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph list with notes of multiple substantiated allegations of sexual misconduct. Church officials permanently removed Reverend Tierney from ministry.

Current Status: Removed from active ministry


True, Isaac

Ordained: 1966
In September 2011, an adult male filed a civil lawsuit alleging that Father Isaac True sexually assaulted him when he was an Independence, MO Nativity Church altar boy years before. The alleged sexual assault occurred in the late 1970s when the victim was nine years old. The victim stated that Reverend Truitt also sexually assaulted him while visiting his home and accompanying him on trips. Between 1970 March 19, 1988, Father True served as the Conception Seminary president and rector. During his career, he worked at Bethany, MO Blessed Sacrament Parish. In November 2013, Church officials from the Benedictine Order settled a lawsuit involving Father True for $125,000. The Church removed the Reverend from active ministry. His name appears on the August 2019 Conception Abbey Benedictine’s list of priests who have been credibly accused of sexual molestation.

Current Status: Removed from active ministry


Tulipana, John

Ordained: 1972
In January 1994, Father John Tulipana resigned from his position in the Roman Catholic Church after the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph paid a youth $150,000 to resolve a case involving his sexual misconduct. The alleged assault occurred in 1999. A second accusation also arose. The Church paid the plaintiff to settle the case. At the time of the sexual assault, Reverend Tulipana was counseling the sexual abuse survivor because he had been abused by Reverend O’Connell, who would later become a Bishop. Afterward, the victim discussed with Church officials of the Diocese what their new Bishop O’Connell had done to him years before. In December 2006, Tulipana was named in a file civil lawsuit regarding abuse occurring in Texas in 1978. In August 2008, the Church settled claims involving Tulipana. In October 2010, an adult woman filed a new civil lawsuit. In February 2012, another lawsuit accusing Tulipana of sexual misconduct was filed by four brothers. The Reverend died in November 2012. His name appears on the September 2019 Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph list with notations of multiple substantiated allegations of sexual molestation.

Current Status: Died: 2012


Urbanic, James

Ordained: 1971
In July 2011, Church officials of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph removed Father James Urbanic after allegations arose of sexual misconduct involving two underage children during the 1970s. At the time of the alleged assault, Reverend Urbanic was assigned to Saint Joseph, MO St. Francis Xavier Church. The Diocese Review Board found the allegations against Father Urbanic to be credible. The Reverend admitted to the Society of the Precious Blood that he did act inappropriately in the early years of his priesthood. Before the allegation, he served as the Society’s provincial. In February 2012, Father Urbanic was named in a filed civil lawsuit. The plaintiff, in that case, stated that the Reverend had sexually assaulted him in the 1970s while he was a Bishop LeBlond High School student. In December 2013, the Roman Catholic Church settled a lawsuit for $130,000. Church officials permanently removed Reverend Urbanic from ministry. His name appears on the September 2019 Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese list with notes that multiple allegations against him involving sexual misconduct have been substantiated.

Current Status: Removed from active ministry


Vatter, Peter Clement

Ordained: 1916
In April 2020, the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph announced that Church officials had found the allegations involving Father Peter Clement Vatter’s inappropriate sexual activity to be credible. The allegation revealed that Reverend Vatter sexually assaulted a minor during the late 1940s. At the time of the alleged assault, Vatter was the Moberly, MO Immaculate Conception Parish pastor. Afterward, the Church was renamed Saint Pius X when it became part of the Diocese of Jefferson City after the new diocese formation in 1956.

Current Status: Died: 1950


Ward, Thomas J.

Ordained: 1962
In 1993 or early 1994, Church officials from the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph suspended Reverend Thomas Ward for nine months. Afterward, he was reinstated to active ministry. In 1994, when he was reassigned, the Bishop told parishioners that Reverend Ward had undergone an evaluation. The results of the evaluation “gave no reason to believe that the allegations might be true.” A 1994 civil lawsuit claims that Father Ward sexually molested an underage male for a decade. At the time when the alleged assault began, the child was fourteen years old. In 1999, the Roman Catholic Church settled a lawsuit for $20,000. Three years earlier, the Reverend had “retired” but continued to work part-time. By August 2008, the Church settled claims involving Ward as a part of its $10 million negotiated agreement involving a dozen priests. The Reverend died in 2012. His name appears on the September 2019 Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph’s list with notations of multiple allegations of sexual misconduct that have been substantiated.

Current Status: Died: 2012


Waterman, Thomas

Ordained: 1956
In 2019, the Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph publicly named Father Thomas Waterman with credible allegations of sexual misconduct involving an innocent victim. The Church conducted an internal investigation concerning the accusation involving one victim. The results of the investigation substantiated the allegation.

Current Status: Died: 1998


Wegenek, Jerry Joseph

Ordained: 1964
In 2012, Church officials for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph acknowledged that Father Jerry Joseph Wegenek had been removed from active ministry in June 1994. The Reverend was removed when allegations arose that he had sexually molested a teenage male during the 1970s. The victim, now an adult male, told Church officials in 2001 that Reverend Wegenek sexually assaulted him. In September 2012, the man filed a civil lawsuit alleging that the priest had plied him with alcohol to rape him repeatedly. The alleged assault lasted for several years and started when the victim was ten years old. At that time, Church officials had assigned Father Wegenek to Saint Patrick and Saint Gabriel parishes in Kansas City, MO. The sexual assault allegedly occurred during the late 1960s. Wegenek passed away in 2011. His name appears on the September 2019 Diocese of Kansas City-St Joseph list with notes that multiple allegations of sexual misconduct had been substantiated.

Current Status: Died: 2011


Wise, Stephen

Ordained: 1979
In June 2008, Father Stephen Wise faced accusations of sexually assaulting an underage male at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. The alleged assault occurred during the late 1970s and lasted over four years. In 1986, Reverend Wise left the priesthood before getting married. In August 2008, the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph settled one claim filed against Father Wise in its $10 million negotiated agreement involving a dozen priests. By October 2011, a new civil lawsuit was filed by an adult male claiming that Reverend Wise had sexually molested him for two years. At that time of the alleged assault, the victim was 10 to 12 years of age. The victim states that the Bishop knew of the accusations against the Reverend. The Vatican laicized (defrocked – removed from the priesthood) Wise. The priest’s name appears on the September 2019 Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese’s list with multiple allegations that are substantiated.

Current Status: Laicized – Removed from the priesthood by Vatican

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