Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph

8:35 am
Wed October 15, 2014

Kansas City Diocese Settles In Ongoing Civil Case, Resolves Other Abuse Claims

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.

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5:21 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn Under Vatican Investigation

Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn

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.

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Heartland Health Monitor
5:30 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Judge To Rule In Breach Of Contract Suit Against Diocese

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.

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10:33 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Kansas City-St. Joe Diocese To Pay $1.1M For Failing To Report Abuse

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.

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3:46 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Insurance Company Files Suit Against Catholic Diocese

Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph Bishop Robert Finn oversees Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Kansas City, Mo.
Credit 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.

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4:25 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

Three Prison Terms Added For Felon Priest

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. 

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KC Currents
4:59 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

Can An Ombudsman Help Save the Kansas City-St. Joe Diocese?

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Kansas City, Mo.
Credit 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.

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4:44 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Church Insuror Denies Claim In Wrongful Death Settlement

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.

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5:11 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

KC Diocese Settles Sex Abuse Death Case On Trial Eve

Credit Sixteenth

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."

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6:16 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Computer Seizure At Independence Church Stems From Child Porn Search

Felipe Micaroni Lalli

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

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High School
12:00 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Closing Of St. Mary's School Reflects Declining Enrollment In Catholic Schools

St. Mary's High School in Independence will close after this year. It's been around for 160 years.

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.

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High School Sports
7:28 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

St. Mary's Final Basketball Season Comes To An End

Emily Echlin cheers at one of St. Mary's final basketball games.
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.

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Up to Date
12:01 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

The Future Of Bishop Robert Finn

Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn

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.

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Cops & Crime
6:53 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

Bishop Robert Finn: Guilty On One Count

Protesters gathered at the Jackson County Court House on Thursday. David Biersmith holds a quote attributed to Bishop Robert Finn who faced trial.
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.

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Cops & Crime
1:01 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

Verdict Expected In Bishop Finn Case

David Clohessy with SNAP, conferring with David Biersmith from Voice of the Faithful, outside the courthouse on Thursday.
Frank Morris KCUR

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

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Cops & Crime
5:09 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Bishop's Bid Fails, Child Sex Charges Stand

K.C.-St. Joseph Diocese defense counsel Jean Paul Bradshaw II after arguments to dismiss charges in child sex abuse case.
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.

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Cops & Crime
6:59 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

No Fast Ruling In Historic Case Of Catholic Bishop

Bishop Robert Finn leaves Jackson County Courthouse, Kansas City, MO., after attempts to dismiss historic criminal case against him.
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.

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5:28 pm
Tue January 31, 2012

Catholic Schools Want State Support For KCPS Transfers

Catholic Schools Superintendent Daniel Peters at Holy Cross Elementary School.
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.

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Cops & Crime
4:58 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

Church Sex Case Trial To Start In Early Fall

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.

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Cops & Crime
5:09 pm
Tue January 3, 2012

Gag Order Charge Stirs Priestly Abuse Case

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.

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