Probe of church abuse scandal hits one year mark
Probe of church abuse scandal hits one year mark
Victims write alleged predators names on sidewalk
They blast MO attorney general for a “half-hearted effort”
Meanwhile, KC KS suspended cleric’s criminal trial is 9/9
Group wants archbishop to “rein in overzealous Catholics”
SNAP: “Once hard-liners, GOP leaders now ‘soft on crime’
It urges Republicans to ‘lean on’ three statewide officeholders
And it gives AG ‘abuse experts list’ that his staff should interview
And victims praise law enforcement officials in KS & neighboring states
Using chalk, clergy sex abuse victims will write two-three dozen names of credibly accused predator KC MO priests on the sidewalk outside the Missouri attorney general’s office and
---blast him for what they call a “half-hearted and slow-paced” look into Catholic sex crimes and cover ups (which was launched one year ago),
---hand-deliver a list of ‘abuse experts’ in Missouri and elsewhere who could help the probe and should be questioned by law enforcement, and
---urge the AG to push KC MO’s bishop to post child molesting clerics on his website (as every other Missouri bishop has done already).
And holding signs and childhood photos, they will
-- discuss the impending criminal trial of a local priest set for next month, and
-- urge KC Catholic officials to insist that parishioners not rally around the accused cleric in public and the courtroom
Wednesday, August 28 at 2 p.m.
On the sidewalk outside the AG’s office, 615 E. 13th Street, (corner of Holmes) in Kansas City, MO (816-889-5000)
Four-five members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)
---1) Wyandotte County Judge Bill Klapper has set Sept. 9 as the trial date for Fr. Scott James Kallal, a suspended KC KS priest who was charged with two felony counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. His alleged victims are both young teens now.
SNAP wants top Catholic officials to “aggressively reach out to anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered any wrongdoing by him” so that the judge and jury “might be able to assess the case with more information, not less.”
Fr. Kallal was an assistant pastor at Holy Spirit in Overland Park when he was suspended in 2017 after two people complained of inappropriate conduct by him, one toward an 11-year-old girl. He was arrested in Maryland in 2017 where he had been sent for treatment at a church-run facility.
The girl's father says the priest tickled her and touched her breast at a St. Patrick's gathering in 2015 but Fr. Kallal denied "moral misconduct or malicious intent."
Fr. Kallal, a native of Jerseyville IL (near Alton), was ordained in 2011 in KC KS for a Rome-based religious order called the Apostles of the Interior Life. His whereabouts until 2014 are unclear. he is not indexed in the 2012 Official Catholic Directory. In the 2013 and 2014 directories, he was assigned to "further studies." From 2014-2016, he was at St. Patrick's in Kansas City KS.
SNAP stresses that “it’s never too late to provide police and prosecutors information about potential crimes and cover ups” and “it’s irresponsible for those with knowledge or suspicions about wrong-doing to passively sit back and let one or two youngsters shoulder the burden of convicting sex offenders alone.”
--- 2) Often, when accused abusive clerics go to court, dozens of parishioners rally around them, which intimidates and depresses victims, witnesses and whistleblowers, reducing the chances that others with information or suspicions will step forward.
SNAP wants KC KS Archbishop Joseph Naumann to forbid his flock from doing this. And it wants him to distribute this flier to parishioners, about how to act appropriately and sensitively in child sex abuse cases:
--- 3) In what SNAP now considers a “shrewd but cynical move to win votes,” one year ago, then-attorney general Josh Hawley announced a state-wide probe of clergy sex crimes and cover ups. Hawley’s replacement, Eric Schmitt, says he’s continuing that probe.
But SNAP has seen little evidence that the effort is bearing much fruit. It’s urging Schmitt to start a clergy abuse hotline, do ‘aggressive outreach’ across the state to victims, witnesses and whistleblowers and even considering holding open ‘town hall meetings’ on the subject.
Hawley claimed he lacked authority to do an aggressive investigation using subpoenas and sworn testimony. SNAP is skeptical of this claim but prodded Hawley to seek greater authority from the legislature or Governor Mike Parson. But the group has gotten virtually no response from Parson. SNAP also appealed to Schmitt for at least a preliminary report on the probe – like ones in Kansas and Illinois – but Schmitt refuses.
So SNAP is calling on Republican Party members to “lean on” these three top office-holders who “haven’t done or aren’t doing enough to protect the vulnerable, heal the wounded, expose the truth and deter the cover ups in this scandal-ridden church.” The group notes that the GOP “has historically claimed to be the ‘law and order’ party” but “often goes soft on clergy who conceal heinous crimes against kids,” SNAP says.
Over the past year, 18 attorneys general have launched investigations into bishops and abuse. Just months into the effort in Illinois, the AG there disclosed that roughly 500 accused priest’s names remain hidden and successfully pressured bishops there to release dozens of credibly accused predator priests’ names. Last month, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation revealed that it has 74 open investigations and has heard from 119 alleged victims. The Nebraska AG has issued subpoenas to 400 Catholic institutions. The Michigan AG has charged five priests with child sex crimes.
For one view on how AG investigations can help, see:
Three of Missouri’s bishops – KC MO’s prelate being the exception - have posted accused predator priests’ names on their websites. (All 6 of Illinois bishops, 2 of 3 of Nebraska bishops and 2 of 4 Kansas bishops and Arkansas’s sole bishop have done this.)
Under pressure from the Illinois AG, bishops there posted dozens of previously hidden predators’ names. SNAP wants Schmitt to do the same with KC MO’s Bishop James Johnston.In February, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation launched a probe into all four Kansas dioceses and how they deal with abuse. (To report information: 1-800-872-7463, ClergyAbuse@kbi.ks.gov)
In July, the KBI disclosed that it has opened 74 current investigations and received calls from 119 victims.