The Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph will pay almost $10 million to settle dozens of sexual abuse claims filed since 2010.
The settlement, reached late Tuesday, includes 30 pending claims against the diocese and ends an ongoing civil trial in a case filed by former alter boy Jon David Couzens. Couzens, who alleges he was abused in the 1970s and '80s at the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Independence, took the diocese to court last month. His case would have entered jury deliberations this week if not for the settlement.
A Canadian archbishop visited the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., diocese last week on behalf of the Vatican to investigate the leadership of Bishop Robert Finn, the first Catholic prelate to be found criminally guilty of shielding a priest in the ongoing clergy sexual abuse crisis.
A Jackson County judge heard arguments Wednesday on whether the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph should pay a $1.1 million arbitration award for breach of contract in its ongoing litigation over clergy sex abuse.
The diocese contends the arbitrator, Kansas City lawyer Hollis Hanover, exceeded his authority when he made the award after finding the diocese had violated the terms of a $10 million settlement it reached with 47 sex abuse victims in 2008.
Under the terms of the settlement, the diocese pledged to adopt a variety of child safety measures.
The company that provided the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph its liability insurance in the 1970s says it shouldn't have to defend the church or pay damages in a litany of sexual abuse cases.
The U.S. Fidelity and Guaranty Co. filed suit in federal court Friday against the diocese, which has been sued by more than a dozen plaintiffs who say they were victims of sexual abuse in the '60s and '70s. In the majority of those cases, the court has dismissed all claims against the diocese except the intentional failure to supervise clergy.
The local Roman Catholic diocese has attracted worldwide attention for its problems with child abuse, particularly for Bishop Robert Finn who is the first and only U.S. bishop to be convicted of failing to report suspected abuse.
Later this month, the Diocese’s Office of Child and Youth Protection will release its second annual public report on abuse in the parishes. The report is one of several big steps the Diocese has taken in recent years to address abuse, but some say these steps aren’t enough.
The St. Mary's community is reeling from what they feel was the abrupt and insensitive way the diocese of Kansas City and St. Joseph closed their 160-year-old school. Many of the families in the Independence, Sugar Creek and Blue Springs areas are alums and have children and grandchildren there.
But the diocese says closing the 160-year-old school was strictly a business decision; the diocese couldn't pay the bills to keep the school open. The reason, they say, is the tumbling enrollment. Only seven students enrolled for the 2013-2014 freshman class.
A Jackson County judge today found Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph guilty of failing to report suspected child abuse. It’s the first time such a high-ranking Catholic Church official has been convicted on a criminal charge.
Leaving nearly 8 months preparation time for prosecution and defense, a Jackson County Circuit Judge has set a late September trial date for the Bishop of Kansas City and St. Joseph and the diocese as an entity. The case will be a first of its kind in the nation.
The quest for discovery of evidence in an alleged priestly abuse case in Kansas City is turning more complicated. A Jackson County Circuit Judge has ordered a third party to turn over records. And its executive director says he will not.