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  Priest Facing Allegations of Sex Abuse Invokes Fifth
Action Means Diocese Can't Fully Answer Accusers

By Anne Belli Gesalman
Dallas Morning News
July 17, 1993

A Roman Catholic priest who is accused of sexually abusing boys at two area churches has invoked his constitutional right against self-incrimination to questions regarding the allegations.

By invoking the Fifth Amendment and raising other objections, the Rev. Rudolph Kos has prevented the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas from fully answering questions posed by the two young men who are suing the diocese and priest, according to court records filed Friday.

Asked whether Father Kos ever admitted to any sexual misconduct, the diocese referred to several legal objections raised by Father Kos.

One states that if the diocese answered the question, it would violate the priest's constitutional rights.

Father Kos, 48, lodged the same objection when the diocese was asked to turn over his complete employment file and copies of any statement that the priest had made to diocesan officials in connection with the allegations, the court records show.

Consequently, a recorded statement Father Kos made Nov. 30 was not produced, and neither were several other internal documents and memos, the court records show.

Randal Mathis, an attorney for the diocese, said Father Kos raised objections Thursday to the diocese's plan to turn over the documents and more fully answer questions from the plaintiffs. That forced the diocese to amend its plans, Mr. Mathis said.

"We had hoped to answer more and hoped to produce more,' Mr. Mathis said. "The restrictions . . . are due to the fact that yesterday Father Kos, through his legal counsel, asked the diocese to lodge certain objections. We were required to make those objections.'

For example, Mr. Mathis said, Father Kos claimed "clergymen privilege.' That privilege allows the priest to claim confidentiality for any conversation he had with diocesan officials if they were serving as his spiritual advisers. Father Kos' attorney, Hal Browne of Dallas, could not be reached for comment. Neither could the plaintiffs' attorney, Windle Turley.

The two young men, known in court documents as John Doe I and II, filed their suit in state District Judge Anne Ashby Packer's court in May.

They allege that Father Kos, while serving at two churches between 1985 and 1992, sexually abused them after giving them alcohol or drugs.

They further allege that the diocese negligently hired and supervised the priest, then failed to promptly notify authorities once it suspected he was abusing children.

Both the diocese and Father Kos, whom the diocese sent in October to a clergy treatment center in Jemez Springs, N.M., have denied the allegations in court records.

The plaintiffs have not been available for comment. But in court records filed last week, both said they are receiving counseling for the shame, guilt, anger, low self-esteem and depression they have suffered as a result of the alleged abuse. One also claimed to have "thoughts of suicide,' "trance states' and "sensory distortion.'

Both men allege that the abuse took place while Father Kos was assistant pastor at St. Luke's Catholic Church in Irving betwen 1985 and 1988, and when he was pastor of St. John's Nepomucene Catholic Church in Ennis from 1988 to 1992.

In the court records filed Friday, the diocese said that it first learned of the sexual abuse allegations Sept. 23. Three days later, the Rev. Glenn D. Gardner, vicar general of the diocese, met with one of the plaintiffs and his mother, "at which time, Rev. Gardner was informed of inappropriate conduct by Rudolph Kos,' the diocese said in court records.

The plaintiffs contended in their suit that the diocese knew of the abuse long before then, while Father Kos was at St. Luke's in Irving.

Rather than remove the priest from the diocese, officials transferred him to St. John's in Ennis, the plaintiffs have alleged.

Claudette and Cliff Allen, parishioners who ran the youth program at St. John's, alerted diocesan officials as early as 1989 that Father Kos may have been acting inappropriately around young boys.

According to a letter the couple sent to the Rev. Thomas Tschoepe, who was bishop at the time, the two were worried about the priest's habit of having boys spend the night with him at the rectory.

"Another thing that is concerning us is that on several occasions, Fr. Kos has had boys over to spend the entire night, not just a few hours of computer games,' the couple wrote in its June 11, 1989, letter. "For several months, we thought very little about it, but we wonder how this looks to others that are not involved with the youth of our parish.'

In an interview this week, Mrs. Allen said she didn't believe diocesan officials didn't know years earlier that Father Kos had sexually molested boys. "The problem was this was known at St. Luke's,' she said.

"The diocese was trying to say we knew nothing about this,' she added. "But they did.'

Mrs. Allen said the whole situation has left her and her husband disillusioned with the church that they had once built their lives around.

"We still, to this day, are not over it,' she said.

The case is scheduled for a preliminary hearing before Judge Packer's court Monday morning.

 
 

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