WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The Kansas City, Kansas, Archdiocese has released a statement following the release of a report focusing on allegations of sexual abuse of children by members of the Catholic clergy in Kansas.
The report, ordered on Nov. 15, 2018, by Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, comes from the KBI and also focuses on investigating criminal allegations of sexual abuse from clergy members associated with the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX), a non-traditional branch of the Catholic Church.
“The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas learned from media reports last evening that the Kansas Attorney General has released a report by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation of its investigation of historical allegations of sexual abuse made against Catholic clergy in the state,” the statement reads. “Although there has not been sufficient time to carefully study the report, it reflects a detailed four-year investigation of all four dioceses (or church jurisdictions) in Kansas covering more than 50 years.”
“The trauma experienced by the victims is clear from the KBI report,” Archbishop Joseph Naumann, leader of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, said. “You cannot read this report without your heart breaking.”
“The archbishop expressed his gratitude to the Kansas attorney general for the professionalism and thoroughness he and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation brought to the study,” the release continues. “It was Archbishop Naumann who initially requested the investigation of archdiocesan files by the attorney general in 2018.”
Naumann said in the release he “joins bishops across the state of Kansas in offering his deepest apologies to the victims, their families, the faithful of the church, and the Kansas Catholic community at large.”
“The Archdiocese has openly collaborated with the KBI from the moment we initiated an extensive and thorough review of our internal files by an independent, outside law firm,” said Vicar General Father John Riley. “We shared the full results of our independent review with the KBI and have continued to provide additional information throughout the investigation.”
“Like other dioceses across the country, the dioceses in Kansas have for some 20+ years implemented programs to protect children and vulnerable adults in its parishes and schools, and the report indicates a steep decline in allegations in recent decades,” the release says. “But the most significant change Archbishop Naumann has introduced locally has been adopting a victim-centered approach using restorative principles to address the grave harm of abuse. He prays these efforts will be successful and provide a new avenue to bring healing to victims in the future.
“In January 2019, the archdiocese published a list of substantiated allegations of abuse against archdiocesan priests, or other priests who had served within the archdiocese, and continues to maintain and update that list publicly.”
No charges have been filed yet due to statute of limitations concerns, according to the KBI. The investigation identified 188 clergy members suspected of committing various criminal acts, to include: aggravated criminal sodomy, rape, aggravated indecent liberties with a child and aggravated sexual battery.
All three bishops in Kansas complied with the KBI investigation, which was “massive in scale.” The Catholic Clergy Task Force started 125 criminal investigations, reviewed more than 200 crime tips from survivors, reviewed more than 40,000 pages of documents and interviewed dozens of victims, witnesses and suspects in 15 different states.