KC - Newly named accused predator is sued
- Predator priest is sued
- He’s named for 1st time as an offender
- Diocese has remained silent about for eleven years
- Crimes happened at motels, rectory, retreats, & church parking lots
- Victims group begs bishop to post names of other pedophile priests
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and supporters will publicly
--announce a new child abuse lawsuit naming publicly for the first time a Kansas City priest,
--prod the bishop to post the names of credibly accused predators on diocesan website, and
--urge those who see, suspect or suffer clergy sex crimes and cover ups to keep calling police and prosecutors, not church officials.
TODAY ------------------------Thursday, September 13 at 1:30 p.m.
Outside the KC Catholic diocesan chancery office/headquarters, 20 W. 9th Street in downtown KC
Three-four members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a St. Louis woman who is the organization’s long time outreach director
Clergy sex abuse victims will announce a new lawsuit naming Fr. Jerry J. Wegenek and the diocese of Kansas City MO as defendants. The suit says that diocesan officials were first warned about Wegenek in 2001 when a Kansas City man reported his abuse to them.
The victim in this lawsuit was about ten years old when the assaults began. Wegenek showered him with attention, gave him beer and raped him repeatedly for years, at motels, retreats, church parking lots, and in the rectory of either St. Gabriel or St. Patrick parish in KC MO.
Wegenek worked at parishes in three western Missouri towns: Higginsville (St. Mary’s) Montrose (Immaculate Conception) and St. Joseph (Queen of the Apostle and St. James). He also worked at four parishes in Kansas City (St. Bernadette, St. James, St. Patrick and St. John the Baptist). At the latter, he worked with Msgr. Thomas O’Brien, a serial KC predator priest with dozens of victims.
Wegenek was born in St. Joseph MO and died in 2011. He was ordained in 1964.
The victim is in his early 50s and now lives in Florida.
Roughly 30 US bishops have posted names of credibly accused clerics on their websites. Despite repeated requests from SNAP, Bishop Finn refuses to take this simple, inexpensive step to better protect children and help victims heal. At the very least, SNAP says, Finn could easily and safely post the names of proven, admitted and credibly accused clerics who have died. Deceased clerics would not be be harmed, SNAP maintains, but living victims would be helped.
"Victims often find the courage to break their silence once they know they are not alone”, said David Clohessy, executive director of SNAP.
SNAP will be Representing Clergy Abuse Survivors in Rome!
We are taking the fight to Rome and are standing up for all survivors on a world stage! From February 19-25, Board President Tim Lennon, Seattle Leader Mary Dispenza, Los Angeles Leader Esther Hatfield Miller and Austin Leader Carol Midboe will be traveling to Rome for Pope Francis' Papal Abuse Summit.
If you are a member of the media and looking to get in touch with these survivors while in Rome, click here for our media advisory and contact information. If you are interested in connecting with a survivor in the US from your area of coverage, please contact one of the SNAP leaders in the US listed below:
- East Coast/DC: Becky Ianni (SNAPvirginia@cox.net, 703-801-6044)
- Midwest/Chicago: Zach Hiner (firstname.lastname@example.org, 517-974-9009)
- Midwest/St. Louis: David Clohessy (email@example.com, 314314-566-9790)
- West Coast / San Francisco: Melanie Sakoda (firstname.lastname@example.org, 925-708-6175)
If you are looking to help spread the word about the importance of this summit and for survivors to be heard, add your voice to the conversation on social media using the hashtag #PBC2019. Be sure to follow SNAP on twitter and Facebook and share our posts, add your comments, and let the world know that we are watching!Learn More