Lawsuit Accuses Ex-Priest of Abuse

By Tony Rizzo
Kansas City Star [Kansas City MO]
December 15, 2006

A lawsuit filed Thursday accuses a former Kansas City area priest of molesting a 12-year-old boy during a 1978 trip to Texas.

The suit, filed in Jackson County Circuit Court, also alleges that the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph knowingly ignored and concealed the priest's misconduct.

The former priest, John R. Tulipana, resigned in 1994 after The Kansas City Star reported that the diocese had paid $150,000 in 1989 to a man who alleged that he was molested by Tulipana in 1980 and 1981.

Bishop Raymond J. Boland, who headed the diocese in 1994, said at the time that his predecessor had received two complaints involving Tulipana. Like the one reported by The Star, the other was handled by a financial settlement.

In both cases, plaintiff's attorneys required the diocese to sign confidentiality agreements to protect the identities of the alleged victims, officials for the diocese said Thursday. Tulipana underwent psychological evaluations and was cleared to return to the ministry after those complaints.

After the publicity in 1994, the diocese received another complaint involving Tulipana, officials said Thursday. It involved allegations of misconduct in the 1980s, and that person accepted reimbursement for counseling expenses.

In 2004, the diocese was contacted by relatives of another alleged victim. Although the victim could not recall any misconduct, relatives thought it had occurred. The family accepted counseling offered by the diocese, officials said.

The alleged victim in Thursday's suit, identified in court documents as J.B. Doe, is now an adult living in Missouri. He lived in Independence when the abuse allegedly occurred.

He has suffered various problems as a result of the abuse, including rage, abandonment, depression, hopelessness and a "massive distrust" of those in authority, according to the suit, filed by lawyer Rebecca Randles.

Officials with the diocese said they could not comment on the lawsuit because they had not seen it.

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