Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

With a towering physical stature and soft spoken, solicitous style, Archbishop Joseph Naumann knows he has a difficult task before him as he takes over the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph on an interim basis after the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn.

He's encouraging the grieving and still angry parishioners to reach toward their faith.

"I think we need to ask the Lord to help each of us to heal. There are people who have experienced wounds on both sides," Naumann said in an interview Monday at the Diocese headquarters in downtown Kansas City. 

The departure of Bishop Robert Finn won’t stall the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese’s plan to open a new high school in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, next fall.

St. Michael the Archangel High School is expected to open in fall 2016 with about 360 students, mostly students from St. Mary's in Independence, Missouri, which closed last year, and Archbishop O'Hara High School, which will close when the new school opens.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

By midday Tuesday, there were still many among the flock of Catholics in Kansas City who didn’t yet know that Pope Francis had accepted the resignation of their Bishop — Robert William Finn.

Finn has been at the center of controversy for years. He became the highest ranking official of the church to be convicted of a crime when he was found guilty of failing to report allegations of child abuse in 2012.

Kansas City-area Catholics reacting to the news revealed a wide range of opinions.

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.

Kansascity.com

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 Kansas City-St. Joesph Catholic Diocese has been ordered to pay $1.1 million to victims for failing to follow through on their promise to improve how they deal with sexual abuse.

The ruling from an arbitrator says the diocese is responsible for the damages after concluding that it did not promptly report a priest who had produced child pornography, the New York Times reports.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

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.

Three Prison Terms Added For Felon Priest

Oct 25, 2013

A Catholic priest serving a 50 year federal sentence on a Kansas City area child pornography conviction will absorb a new sentence while behind bars.

Reverend Shawn Ratigan pleaded guilty October 25  to state charges at Liberty, MO.

The burly and bearded Ratigan will serve three consecutive 7 year sentences on his admission he had obscene pictures of girls, some under the age of 12.

The priest took the photos during his tenure at churches and schools of the Kansas City- St. Joseph Diocese.

The sentences will not be added to the federal punishment. 

Alex Smith / KCUR

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 Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph will not have the benefit of an insurance policy to blunt it’s out of court settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit connected to alleged sex abuse.

In court filings, as reported by the Kansas City Business Journal, Chicago Insurance Company said the $2.5 million diocese payment agreed to July 8 isn’t covered. 

The diocese settled with parents of Brian Teeman as jury selection was underway in Jackson County Circuit Court.

Sixteenth circuit.org

There was a surprise ending to what may have been a landmark sex abuse case against the Kansas City-St. Joseph Catholic Diocese. 

Both sides reached a settlement  in the middle of  jury selection as trial was to begin in Jackson County Circuit Court at Independence, Mo.

The civil court action stemmed from the 1983 death of a former altar boy.

A statement from the diocese said, in part, that while facts of the case remain unclear, "the tragedy of it is certain."

Felipe Micaroni Lalli

Independence police from a child exploitation task force hauled four computers  out of St. Ann’s Catholic  Church offices yesterday.

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.

Greg Echlin / KCUR

Four basketball games took place last Friday at the St. Mary’s High School gymnasium in Independence for the last time. 

The Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph announced last month the school will close at the end of the school year because of declining enrollment.  It has been around for 160 years.

The captain of the cheerleaders, a senior, shares her thoughts. Her name is Emily Echlin, the daughter of KCUR sports contributor Greg Echlin.

kansascity.com

The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph is still reeling from Bishop Robert Finn's conviction this month for failing to report child sexual abuse.

Frank Morris / KCUR

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.

Frank Morris / KCUR

UPDATE at 3:30 pm: Bishop Robert Finn: Guilty on one of two counts. 

Bishop's Bid Fails, Child Sex Charges Stand

Apr 5, 2012
Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Bishop Robert Finn and the Kansas City-St. Joseph Catholic Diocese will proceed to trial in September.  The clergyman and the institution have lost a bid to have charges against them dismissed.

No Fast Ruling In Historic Case Of Catholic Bishop

Mar 27, 2012
Dan Verbeck / KCUR

It will be two days or a week before Bishop Robert Finn and those following his case and that of his Catholic Diocese will know if the man and the institution will continue to face trial.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Local Catholic School officials are looking for state support for Kansas City Public School students to be able to transfer to private or religious schools.

Church Sex Case Trial To Start In Early Fall

Jan 26, 2012

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.

Gag Order Charge Stirs Priestly Abuse Case

Jan 3, 2012

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.