A 2019 report suggests that at least 24 Kansas priests have been involved in or are accused of sexual abuse of a minor. The investigation by the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph revealed that the priests, half of whom have passed away, were involved in abuse of younger churchgoers within the jurisdiction of the diocese. Of those named in the list, only six have been removed from the ranks of the Catholic Church.
In recent years, new reports of clergymen who belong to the catholic church have arisen, showing just how far members of the church will go to cover up sexual abuse (usually abuse of children) in an effort to protect the clergy. These allegations are often kept secret for decades, which can make confronting the abuse even harder for victims and their families.
There are limits to the law and how long someone can file an allegation from the time the abuse happened. This is referred to as the “statute of limitations,” and every state has a different law about this.
Attorneys can tell you what the time frame is to file a lawsuit or complaint against a person after sexual abuse has occurred in any state.
Over Two Dozen Clergymen Accused
This list, published by the diocese, includes priests from numerous churches in and around the Kansas City area who have allegations or confirmed cases of sexual abuse to minors. The list contains names of those who abused children from 1956 to present day.
In March 2020, Reverend Peter Clement Vatter, who served the Diocese of Kansas – St. Joseph, was added to this list. Vatter received allegations that are now substantiated by an independent review board brought in by the bishop of the diocese. Reverend Vatter served at Immaculate Conception Parish in Moberly, which is now named St. Pius X Parish, located in Mission, Kansas.
The internal investigation that has been initiated by the diocese in order to find other clergy members who have abused children is continuing after learning of Reverend Peter Clement Vatter because there is speculation that there are more leaders who have abused children within the diocese.
Who Has Been Affected?
Though some victims of sexual abuse by the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph have come forward, it’s believed that many have not. Some fear embarrassment or shame if they come forward and share their past experiences of abuse from clergy members. Others, often in different abuse cases, fear retaliation if they go to law enforcement or seek legal help. This is why most sexual abuse occurrences aren’t reported, and many abusers are able to get away with the pain and humiliation they cause those they abuse.
It’s hard to know how many people have been harmed by the two dozen clergymen named by the diocese. Because sex abuse often leaves victims feeling guilty or ashamed, many never come forward their family or the police. Anyone who has been abused, whether by these clergymen or someone else, should know that they are not at fault, and it is healthy to let someone they trust know what happened to them.
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A Stain on Society
Systemic abuse like this affects us all, and should prompt us to be both outraged and encouraged to act and speak up. Churchgoers should be able to gather and worship without being fearful for their safety or their children’s safety. Ultimately, a place of worship is not, and should not be, a place of secrets, fear, intimidation, or abuse of any kind.
We Can Help You
It’s hard to face past abuse of any kind, and many choose not to relive these experiences despite wanting to seek justice. Though it can be difficult, many who come forward to seek justice with an attorney find that it can be a positive experience that gives him or her the closure they need to move on and enjoy their lives.
If you have been a victim of sexual abuse by a member of clergy within any denomination, or you suspect a loved one may have been abused, it’s time to act. Call our experienced and compassionate sexual abuse lawyers today. All consultations are free and completely confidential. If we represent you or your loved one, you pay nothing unless we win. Call 800-614-2067 today.
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