KS--Predator priests in K.C. are “outed;” Victims respond
For immediate release: Friday, March 4, 2016
In the new issue of his church newsletter, Archbishop Joseph Naumann is finally admitting that two of his priests are accused of sexually exploited adults.
But there’s another Kansas City Kansas archdiocesan predator – Fr. Paul Hosler – who has committed the same devastating, manipulative self-serving sexual misconduct. Naumann continues, however, to keep silent about Fr. Hosler, as he done for years.
We suspect there are several other similar offenders still in eastern Kansas parishes. We hope their victims will come forward soon too.
The two “outed” wrongdoers today are:
--Fr. Anthony Kiplagat, who’s reportedly fled back home to Kenya from his parishes in Osage City and Scranton, &
--Fr. George Seuferling, who faces multiple allegations, was suspended more than four years ago, and now is reportedly being defrocked (a process that involves the Vatican and often takes years).
Perhaps the most tragic part of these latest grudging and partial disclosures is that – just like the Fr. Shawn Ratigan case in Kansas City Missouri – innocent parishioners were hurt because a bishop opted for secrecy instead of openness and put his own comfort and convenience ahead of the safety and well-being of his flock. It’s just heart-breaking.
And now, Naumann’s taking the easy way out by trying to defrock Fr. Seuferling. Instead, Naumann should be ordering him into a treatment center, giving his personnel file to law enforcement, visiting his old parishes, and begging victims to call police so he might be prosecuted. That’s what a caring shepherd would do.
Our hearts ache for the victims of all three priests. We especially ache for those who were manipulated and betrayed by Fr. Seuferling after Naumann knew of his sexual misconduct but kept silent (and refused to handle those reports properly and put Fr. Seuferling in a facility so he couldn’t hurt others.) And we ache most especially for anyone he hurt in El Buen Pastor, a community in El Salvador that has worked with Good Shepherd Catholic Community in Shawnee Kansas for more than 20 years.
We worry that Fr. Seuferling will hurt others in the future, especially because, as Naumann admits, he’s disobeyed previous restrictions in the past, so why should he obey any restrictions now? And of course we worry that the other two clerics will also hurt others again.
We also worry that Fr. Hosler has hurt, is hurting and will hurt others in the future, especially because he’s working for Catholic Charities of San Diego now, likely among even more vulnerable women than he met during his years of parish work in Kansas.
And we deplore the self-serving euphemism Naumann is using here: “conduct inconsistent with priestly celibacy.” Masturbating is “conduct inconsistent with priestly celibacy.” Watching porn is “conduct inconsistent with priestly celibacy.” But abusing one’s power, prestige and position, as a trusted spiritual advisor, over parishioners who’ve been trained since birth to consider clerics as exalted figures who can help them attain eternal life, to seduce, manipulate and exploit devout parishioners is **NOT** just “conduct inconsistent with priestly celibacy.”
You can’t prevent deeply disturbing manipulation and harm if you refuse to even properly describe it.
Many know about child molesting Catholic clerics. But few realize priests abusing vulnerable adults is as or more widespread but still deeply hidden. It’s always wrong and hurtful for doctors to have sex with patients, therapists to have sex with clients and ministers to have sex with congregants. That’s especially true in Catholicism, where parishioners are taught, from birth, to respect and trust priests as holy celibate men who can forgive sins and get them into heaven.
In 17 states, it’s a crime for a cleric to have sex with a congregant.
So let no one be misled: these were NOT “affairs.” These were shrewd, subtle, selfish manipulations by highly educated, cunning predators who took advantage of the prestige afforded by the Roman collar to satisfy themselves and exploit trusting, devout women. (Very often, this kind of abuse starts in “counseling” sessions in which predator priests prod parishioners to share their innermost fears and pain, which only compounds the damage cause by the betrayal.)
We commend these brave women for having the wisdom to understand that they’ve been severely hurt. We commend them for having the strength to step forward. And we commend them for having the compassion to expose these priests as a predator so that others might be spared the pain they’ve endured.
We hope every person who saw, suspected or suffered crimes or misdeeds by Fr. Seuferling, Fr. Kiplagat, Fr. Hosler or other Kansas City area clerics will speak up, call police, expose wrongdoers, deter cover ups, protect others and start healing. We especially appeal to current and former archdiocesan and parish employees. Many of you know or suspect wrongdoing. You are hurting your own church and innocent people by keeping your mouths shut. Show some courage and compassion. Now, you’re part of the problem. Please become part of the solution.
NOTE – We suspect that Naumann has not been honest with his colleague, the bishop in El Salvador. And we believe that Fr. Seuferling has been suspended several times and that his wrongdoing has spanned four decades.
According to BishopAccountability.org, there are 12 KC archdiocesan clerics who are accused of molesting kids. They are: Fr. Thomas F. Cawley, Fr. Thomas A. Conway, Fr. William A. Finnerty, Fr. James A. Forsyth, Fr. William M. Haegelin, Fr. Finian Meis, Fr. Anthony Putti, Fr. Edward F. Roberts, Fr. Dennis E. Schmitz, Fr. John H. Wisner, Fr. Norman C. "Chuck" Wolfe and Fr. Camillus Wurtz. (NOTE: Fr. Hosler and Fr. Seuferling have NOT been accused of hurting children.)
Fr. Hosler worked at St Patrick’s in Kansas City, Most Pure Heart in Topeka, Annunciation Parish in Frankfurt, St. Elizabeth Parish in Blue Rapids, St. Monica in Waterfall, Immaculate Conception Church in Valley Falls, St. John the Evangelist in Lawrence, Holy Spirit in Overland Park (all in Kansas). He also spent time in Manhattan KS.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.