Health & Spirit

Kansas City diocese names priests in 'the dreadful scourge of sexual abuse of minors'

Judy L. Thomas, The Kansas City Star on

Published in Religious News

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Saying that "the dreadful scourge of sexual abuse of minors has wounded our entire family of faith," Bishop James V. Johnston Jr. of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph on Friday released a list of 24 priests he said have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

"The release of these names cannot change the past," Johnston said in a statement. "It is merely a step forward in hope, but a necessary step. All sin is terrible, but the sins of clerics who betray the sacred trust to care for little ones is especially egregious. Jesus himself singled out this betrayal as particularly wicked in the eyes of God. The anger at these sins is fully justified."

Of the 24 priests, 19 were priests of the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese, three worked in the diocese but are now under the jurisdiction of other dioceses and two served in the diocese but belonged to religious orders. Thirteen of the diocesan priests are deceased, two have been permanently removed from ministry, and four have been laicized, or removed from the clerical state.

One of those who was laicized -- Shawn Ratigan -- is serving time in federal prison for child pornography.

"With the one significant exception of former Father Shawn Ratigan, the substantiated allegations were found to have occurred prior to 1990," Johnston said.

Johnston said the list, which covers the period from 1956 to the present, has been shared with the Missouri attorney general. Most of the priests have had multiple allegations.


The other diocesan priests named are James Ahern, Robert Cameron, Robert Deming, James Ford, John Giacopelli, Sylvester Hoppe, Joseph Jakubowski, Francis McGlynn, Thomas O'Brien, John Tulipana, Thomas Ward, Thomas Waterman and Jerry Wegenek, who are all deceased; Michael Brewer and Michael Tierney, who have been permanently removed from ministry; and Hugh Monahan, Thomas Reardon and Stephen Wise, who have been laicized.

The other five with substantiated abuse allegations are:

--Three clergy with allegations stemming from their time in the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese but who are now under authority of other dioceses and whose names have been published there. Among the three is Bishop Joseph Hart, a former Kansas City priest who later became Bishop of Cheyenne in Wyoming and is now the subject of a criminal investigation into sexual abuse in Cheyenne. The other two are Mark Honhart, of the Diocese of Scranton, Pa., permanently removed from ministry; and Bishop Joseph V. Sullivan, of the Diocese of Baton Rouge, La., who is deceased.

-- Two religious-order priests with substantiated allegations against them when they served in the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese. They are Philip Coury, of the Vincentian order, and James Urbanic, of the Society of the Precious Blood. Both have been permanently removed from ministry.


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