Lawsuit against Priest Is Dismissed for the Moment
By Judy L. Thomas
Kansas City Star
December 6, 2012
Another lawsuit alleging sexual abuse against a Kansas City priest has been dismissed. And like a similar lawsuit that was dismissed in October, the suit was dropped by the plaintiff in order to appeal a judge’s decision in the case.
Rebecca Randles, the attorney for David Tate — who filed the lawsuit in July 2011 against the Rev. Michael Tierney, Bishop Robert Finn and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph — said the case will be refiled after the appeal is resolved.
At issue is the judge’s dismissal of the diocese from the lawsuit.
Jackson County Circuit Judge Peggy Stevens McGraw dismissed the diocese in April, finding that it only would be liable if Tierney had been engaged in activities within the scope of a priest’s employment.
In doing so, Randles said, the judge was strictly interpreting case law that has held that a diocese could not be considered liable if the alleged abuse occurred off church grounds.
The lawsuit, filed in Jackson County Circuit Court, accused Tierney of sexually abusing Tate at the home of Tierney’s mother and at a hotel swimming pool in Kansas City in the early 1970s when Tate was about 12 years old. It said the diocese knew of Tierney’s misconduct with children and covered it up.
Finn removed Tierney from his duties as pastor of Christ the King Parish in Kansas City and from all other public ministry in June 2011, saying the diocese had received credible allegations of misconduct with minors.
Tierney’s attorney, Brian Madden, said of the dismissal: “It’s the plaintiff’s right to dismiss a case without prejudice.”
That means the case can be filed again.
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