KC - Newly named accused predator is sued

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

WHAT
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.

WHEN
TODAY ------------------------Thursday, September 13 at 1:30 p.m.

WHERE
Outside the KC Catholic diocesan chancery office/headquarters, 20 W. 9th Street in downtown KC

WHO
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

WHY
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.

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  • followed this page 2012-09-14 17:01:13 -0500
  • commented 2012-09-14 12:29:03 -0500
    The Details of this accusation does not seem to match the timeline when this sex act was reported to have happened Jerry was not in Kansas City when this person was 10 he and I are the same age and Father was in St. Joseph at that time and not at the churches notes on the so called sex abuse so how can they accuse someone that is unable to defend themselves due to not being alive I think you may be on a witch hunt on this one
  • commented 2012-09-14 12:10:31 -0500
    What is sad and difficult is that there is a fine line between the victim and those who are not.
    This story was reported on the St Joseph news this morning, The victim is sitting in prison accused for sexual acts with children and child porn. He is blaming this particular Priest.
    What I found quite odd in the story was that this morning the accuser did not even know the mans name. I was sexually abused when I was five and 47 years later I still know his name.
    I appreciate SNAP but remember in America, innocent until proven guilty.