- Priest allegedly died of AIDS
- He’s publicly accused for 1st time
- New abuse & cover up lawsuit is filed
- For 2nd time in 2 days, a KC cleric is sued
- SNAP to Finn: “Don’t split hairs – do your moral & civic duty”
For the first time, a KC area Catholic priest who allegedly died of AIDS is being accused of child sexual abuse and Catholic officials are also named as defendants in a new civil lawsuit. The case will be disclosed and discussed at a news conference today at which clergy sex abuse victims will also hold signs and childhood photos. They will also
--read aloud a statement by the victim (who is remaining anonymous)
--urge Catholic officials to “stop the slow drip, drip, drip of seemingly endless allegations” by “coming clean” and publicly naming all proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics,
-- post their names, photos and whereabouts on church websites, and
--aggressively reach out to anyone with information about their crimes and alleged crimes.
Thursday, Feb. 9, 1:30 p.m.
Outside the KC chancery (diocesan headquarters) 20 West Ninth Street (at Baltimore) in KC MO
Two child sex abuse victims who belong to 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 outreach director
Fr. James Ford allegedly molested, on several occasions, a 12 or 13 year old boy at Holy Cross parish in northeast Kansas City. Ford died in 1992. This is the first time he’s been publicly accused of child sex crimes.
Holy Cross is at 5106 St. John Ave. between N Quincy and N Denver Aves (816 231 4845). Fr. Joseph Cisetti is the current pastor (816 231 4845,ext. 5445)
SNAP wants Bishop Robert Finn to do what 24 of his colleagues have done, and post on their websites, for the sake of public safety, the names, whereabouts and priestly status of child molesting clerics who are or have been in the state. The organizations consider this a simple, inexpensive, common sense way to safeguard children and young people. (Last year, two Massachusetts bishops - in Boston and Springfield - have done this.)
According to a Boston-based independent research group called BishopAccountabilty.org, there are 22 publicly accused child molesting Catholic clerics (diocesan and religious order) who molested while in the Kansas City diocese. SNAP notes that the actual number of area pedophile priests is likely higher because BishopAccountability.org lists only those clerics against whom allegations have been made ‘public’ – in civil lawsuits, criminal prosecution or news accounts.
In 2002, Baltimore became the first US diocese to disclose names. Even the much-maligned Philadelphia archdiocese (where the second in command faces criminal charges for concealing child sex crimes) has posted such a list: http://archphila.org/protection/Updates/update_main.htm. Here are all of the dioceses that have disclosed alleged predators’ names: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/AtAGlance/lists.htm
SNAP worries that others who have been hurt by Fr. Ford may still be “suffering in shame, isolation and self blame” and want Catholic officials to “aggressively reach out to others in pain.”
KC attorney Rebecca Randles represents the victim. KC attorney Jon Haden represents the diocese.
Yesterday, a police officer filed a similar abuse and cover up lawsuit against Fr. James Urbanic, who was suspended from active ministry at Sacred Heart parish in Warrensburg last summer.
Barb Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP Outreach Director (314) 503 0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com, David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP Executive Director (314) 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com