MO--Acting Bishop Hid Sex Abuse Allegations
Acting Bishop Hid Sex Abuse Allegations
It blasts KC KS archdiocesan officials
At least three were assaulted, lawsuit says
SNAP: “After accusations, predator was promoted”
And at least one victim was “re-victimized,” group asserts
Victims show unreleased records contradicting archbishop
At a sidewalk news conference, with 40 pages of previously-undisclosed documentation, clergy sex abuse victims will
--discuss a new abuse & cover up lawsuit, quietly amended last month, against a Kansas City Kansas priest,
--detail the recent and harsh treatment of the victim by officials who work under Archbishop Joseph Naumann, and
--warn Kansas City Missouri citizens and Catholics against assuming Naumann will be “better” on abuse than his predecessor, Bishop Robert Finn.
Thursday, April 30 at 11:15
Outside the chancery, archdiocesan headquarters 20 West 9th in downtown KC
Two-three-four members of a self-help group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org) including a S. Louis woman who is the organization's long time outreach director.
Documents being released today show three disturbing actions by KC KS Catholic officials (including new KC MO diocesan head Archbishop Joseph Naumann) over the last decade in an abuse case:
1. Despite other similar lawsuits and reports of abuse against Fr. Finnian Meis, Naumann wrote the victim weeks ago, saying that he and his staff “are unable to substantiate” his abuse report (even after they met with the victim).
2. Before meeting with this victim, A KC KS archdiocesan priest, Fr. Berger, met with another victim of Meis, telling the other victim “the abuse was as much his fault as it was (the predator’s) fa ult” and that he “needed to get over it,” according to the suit.
3. That same victim reported his abuse to a church worker at a Catholic friary in Victoria Kansas and was told “that no one was interested in hearing his complaint.”
The records stem from a recently-filed but little-noticed civil child sex abuse and cover up suit against the Kansas City Kansas archdiocese, its archbishop and several Catholic officials and institutions.
The suit charges that Fr. Meis repeatedly molested two boys and abused a young woman in counseling. It also says that Catholic church officials had “actual knowledge in 1972 of Fr. Meis’ “propensity to abuse counselees and children,” yet promoted him to become Director of Family Life for the archdiocese, giving him “access to” vulnerable individuals “not only from the parish but of all the parishes in the archdiocese.”
The victim in this case repressed the memory of the abuse until 2011.
Specifically, the suit says that Fr. Meis laid on top of the plaintiff, forced “his tongue down the boy’s throat,” and conducted “other weird counseling exercises.” It also charges that, when the boy told his mom, Fr. Meis “promised he would no longer kiss the boy” and “fraudulently concealed from her the true contents of those counseling sessions.” Fr. Meis also reportedly told the boy “to tell no one of the events occurring in his counseling sessions.”
Defendants include several church officials, including Kansas City Kansas Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Fr. Christopher Popravak (a Capuchin in Denver), and Fr. David Nestler (a Capuchin in Pittsburgh) and several church entities (the Kansas City Kansas archdiocese, the Mid-America Capuchin Province).
Only one news outlet, the Lawrence Journal-World, has apparently covered the allegations against Fr. Meis (until this week, when the KCStar did briefly as well).
Fr. Meis also worked in the Salina diocese. One victim alleged abuse by Meis while he sworked in the Salina Diocese, but it occurred when she was 18.
A photo of Fr. Meis is available at BishopAccountability.org. He was reportedly defrocked in the 1980s and died in 1997.
The victim is represented by Kansas City MO attorney Rebecca Randles (816 510 2704 cell, 816 931 9901, firstname.lastname@example.org). The archdiocese is represented by Mara Cohara (816 460 5760, 816 292 2000 of Lathrop & Gage).
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.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
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.