MO- KC clergy abuse cases settle
For immediate release: Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014
Dozens of brave Kansas City men and women who were sexually assaulted as a child by priests have settled their abuse and cover up case against the KC Missouri diocese and its convicted bishop, Robert Finn.
Finn and his aides and their expensive lawyers pulled out all the stops to try and deny Jon David Couzens his day in court. They did the same with these other victims. Time after time, Finn failed. So at the 11th hour, to protect their reputations and careers, Kansas City Catholic officials settled this case and the others as well.
While we are relieved these courageous survivors, especially Jon David, won't have to endure even more mean-spirited legal attacks by Finn and his expensive lawyers, more cover ups by more Catholic officials would have emerged had these cases gone to trial and we're sad that this won't happen.
We cannot say this often or loudly enough: these wounded individuals are heroes for doing so much for so long to expose wrongdoing by Kansas City Catholic clerics. They have been courageous and compassionate and effective. This settlement won't magically heal them of the lifelong traumatic effects of the terrible assaults they endured as children. But we are confident that this settlement will help them in their recovery.
Jon David was sexually violated by two KC priests - Fr. Isaac True and Msgr. Thomas J. O'Brien in the late 1970s and early 1980s when Couzens was a nine and ten year old altar boy at Nativity parish in Independence.
In December, Couzens settled with Fr. True's church supervisors for $125,000. Finn, however, filed motion after motion to dismiss Couzens' case. Thankfully, Finn repeatedly lost.
The Couzens case is, we believe, particularly significant.
Twice already, Couzens has basically been deemed credible by church officials. He was to be a key witness in another case against Msgr. Thomas O'Brien that resulted in a $2.25 million dollar settlement last year (the wrongful death case by the Teeman family). And Fr. True's supervisors, the Benedictines, found his case credible enough to settle with him for six figures.
Obviously, Finn and other KC Catholic officials feared that a jury would find Couzens and these other brave victims very credible.
We hope this outcome will prod others who have been hurt by KC priests, nuns, deacons, seminarians and other Catholic employees to get help, come forward, expose wrongdoers and protect kids.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have 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.