KS--Church officials must help law enforcement, victims say
For immediate release, November 9, 2016
Catholic officials now admit that a Kansas priest engaged in sexual misconduct. But that’s not enough.
Catholic officials recruited, educated, ordained, hired, trained and brought Fr. Anthony Kiplagathere. The police are investigating him. So it’s not enough for Archbishop Joseph Naumann to say “Well, he flew back home,” act powerless and clam up.
Naumann must use church bulletins, parish websites and pulpit announcements to seek out anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by Fr. Kiplagat or cover ups by his supervisors. He must remind his flock that women in Kenya, where Fr. Kiplagat reportedly is now, are even more vulnerable. And he must insist that anyone with knowledge or suspicions about his wrongdoing have a civic duty to help law enforcement investigate him.
If Naumann won’t do this, his staff and his priests should do this.
Fr. Kiplagat was in Kansas for years. Common sense says he likely has other victims. Common decency says they need help. Yet Naumann refuses to use his vast power and resources to find and help them. That’s shameful.
Months ago, Naumann admitted that two of his priests are accused of sexually exploited adults: Fr. Kiplagat and 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).
But there’s yet another Kansas City Kansas archdiocesan alleged 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.
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 alleged victims of all these 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 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 euphemisms Naumann uses: “engaged in unprofessional conduct” and “violated clerical continence,” and “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, Fr. Kiplagat 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.
No matter what church officials do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic churches or institutions – especially in the Kansas City area – to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
(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)
Priest in KCK archdiocese engaged in misconduct with adult, church reveals
BY JUDY L. THOMAS, [email protected]
A Kenyan priest on assignment in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas has engaged in unprofessional conduct with an adult, the archdiocese has revealed.
In a statement issued in the Nov. 4 edition of The Leaven, its official newspaper, the archdiocese said it made the finding after completing an internal investigation of the Rev. Anthony Kiplagat, who left the country earlier this year.
The investigation found that . . .