Lawsuit Accuses Priest of Sexual Abuse in 1952

By Joe Lambe
Kansas City Star
March 6, 2008

A 71-year-old Lenexa woman on Thursday sued the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph because she contends a priest sexually abused her when she was a teenager.

The priest, John C. Baskett, retired in 1975 and died in 1995. He is not a defendant in the case.

Katherine Goodnow, a member of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, contends that Baskett was about 35 and she was 15 when he got her drunk at a Christmas party and sexually assaulted her in a car.

According to the lawsuit, she passed out after that party in 1952 and awoke naked in the car with the priest crying. Baskett, who worked at St. James Church in Kansas City, took her to movies and basketball games, bought her ice cream and had sex with her for about two years, the suit claims.

She asks for unspecified actual and punitive damages.

Rebecca Summers, a spokeswoman for the diocese, said she had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment on it.

She called child sexual abuse a sin and said the diocese urges any person abused by a priest or church employee to come forward for help and healing assistance.

Goodnow said Thursday that she didn't come forward earlier partly because she was embarrassed.

"I believed for a very long time that man loved me, and nobody likes playing the fool," she said. "He said God had chosen me but the relationship must always be silent. I bought it hook, line and sinker."

After she had encouraged others to come forward, she said she felt she needed to speak out herself.

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