MO - New sex lawsuit filed against priest

  • He’s only been accused once before
  • The victim is incarcerated, but his abuser is not
  • In 2008, KC’s bishop promised to defrock the cleric
  • But three years later, it apparently hasn’t been done
  • Accused priest is now a businessman in Lee’s Summit 
  • Suit implicates now-deceased bishop for the first time


Holding signs and childhood photos, clergy sex abuse victims will

--disclose a new civil child sex abuse and cover up lawsuit against a KC priest,

--push KC’s Catholic bishop to defrock the alleged predator, and

--urge anyone who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes to call police, expose wrongdoing, protect others and start healing.


Outside the Kansas City chancery (diocesan headquarters), 20 West Ninth Street (at Baltimore) in downtown Kansas City, MO


TODAY, Tuesday, October 4 at 1:00 p.m.


Two-three child sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (


Fr. Stephen J. Wise is accused of orally and anally sodomizing a boy for roughly two years, when the child was 10-12 years old, at Presentation parish in Lee’s Summit. That victim, now in his 30s, is serving a sentence for an adult sex crime.

The suit says that then-Bishop Charles Helmsing was told about Wise’ abuse of another boy at least year before Wise was sent to Presentation but did little or nothing in response.

In 1980, a Wise victim (then still a child) asked Helmsing “if it was okay if Father Wise touched him.” Helmsing responded that he “should be a good boy and quit running in the church,” the suit charges.

“No action of any kind was taken to prevent Father Wise from harming future children,” the suit says. 

In June 2008, Wise was first sued for allegedly molesting a boy at Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception over four years in the late 1970s. That suit was resolved in August 2008 as part of a larger settlement involving 12 accused predator priests.

In that settlement, KC Catholic officials promised to work to defrock Wise and two other offenders. (Fr. Thomas M. Reardon and Fr. Hugh F. Monahan) SNAP has seen no evidence that this has happened, despite claims by the church hierarchy that defrocking occurs more quickly these days.

Wise has apparently not worked as a priest since 1986 and is now reportedly married. He evidently heads Wise Investment Company at 701 SW Williams Street in Lee’s Summit MO.

Helmsing was KC’s bishop from 1962-1977.

The case is being filed in Jackson County court. The victim is represented by Rebecca Randles (816 931 9901).


David Clohessy, SNAP Director (314) 566-9790, [email protected], Barb Dorris, SNAP Outreach Director (314) 503-0003, [email protected], Kay Goodnow (913) 851-1702, (816) 288-9017

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant