|Diocese Keeping Quiet about Priest Investigation
By Kevin Lewis
January 11, 2010
[media release from the Diocese of Jefferson City]
JEFFERSON CITY - More details about Father Thomas Seifner allegedly sending sexual electronic messages to a child back in 2004.
The diocese in Jefferson City has set up a review board to handle the report but is keeping matters quiet.
The diocese won't say if it has talked to law enforcement or where the alleged abuse happened. KOMU 8 contacted the prosecuting attorneys in the five Mid-Missouri counties where Seifner served since he was ordained in 1992. What we discovered; the diocese has yet to contact any of them in Callaway, Cole, Cooper, Marion or Osage County.
"Given the nature of the allegation the diocese should have immediately contacted law enforcement officials," said Bryan Bacon with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
Church records show Seifner ministered at 10 Missouri churches since he was ordained in 1992. But a media release from the diocese only mentioned notifying five of Seifner's former parishes.
"There's a civil and moral duty on the part of the church to publicly disclose this and encourage all victims to come forward. I'd like to see the diocese in the future be more transparent in disclosing information. They need to be more forthcoming, not only to parishes, but to the public in general and law enforcement officials," Bacon said.
KOMU 8 spoke off camera with the diocese Monday; again it refused to comment.
Seifner was last serving in Osage County at Immaculate Conception Church in Loose Creek and St. Louis of France Church in Bonnots Mill before the diocese removed him pending its investigation.
To read the diocese's media release, click the link on the left side of this story page.
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