Man Files Sexual Abuse Lawsuit against Former Roeland Park Priest
By Ian Cummings
Kansas City Star
December 18, 2015
A Missouri man has filed a sexual abuse lawsuit against a priest who formerly worked at a Roeland Park church.
The suit, filed earlier this week, says that in the mid-1980s, a St. Agnes Catholic Parish priest abused the victim, who was then between 15 and 17 years old.
The suit says the cleric held parties at a Table Rock lake house, where he provided liquor to minors and sexually abused them, at times taking the victim on trips to California, Hawaii and the Cayman Islands.
The victim, now in his 40s, lives in Missouri, according to Rebecca Randles, the Kansas City attorney who filed the case. The priest was identified in the lawsuit only by the initials J.H.W. Jr.
At the time of the alleged abuse, the priest was an associate pastor at St. Agnes Catholic Parish in Roeland Park. He was also the victimís primary physician, according to the suit.
The priest was removed from active ministry in 2012 after other child sexual abuse allegations surfaced, according to a statement released Friday by the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. The archdiocese said church officials reported the allegations to law enforcement and carried out an internal inquiry. The archdiocese is still in the process of defrocking the priest, the statement said.
The lawsuit says other priests and members of the church in the 1980s had knowledge of the parties with minors, the drinking and the sexual abuse.
The suit, filed in Wyandotte County District Court, identified the priest and the archdiocese as defendants and seeks unspecified damages.
Activists with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests issued a statement calling on the archbishop to post the names of credibly accused priests online and urged any survivors of abuse to call police and prosecutors, not church officials.