Dallas Resources – June 1–18, 1997
By Ed Housewright
The Dallas Diocese was obligated under church law to investigate allegations of sexual abuse against the Rev. Rudolph "Rudy" Kos more thoroughly and remove him sooner, a Catholic expert on canon law testified Tuesday.
Local church officials did not have to wait on a complaint from a youth to remove Mr. Kos, as they did, said the Rev. Thomas Doyle, a canon lawyer formerly with the Vatican Embassy in Washington.
He said officials should have acted on "red flags" concerning Mr. Kos even before he was admitted into seminary in 1976. Mr. Kos, who is accused of sexually abusing altar boys at three churches starting in 1981, was removed as a priest in 1992.
"Was Rudy Kos ever suitable to be a parish priest? " Sylvia Demarest, one of the plaintiffs' attorneys, asked Father Doyle.
"Absolutely not," replied Father Doyle, a paid witness for the plaintiffs who is now an Air Force chaplain. "There were strong indications he had some sort of problem with regard to sexuality and acting out. " Father Doyle, who has checked the personnel files of 200 priests around the country accused of sexual misconduct, testified that canon law allows church officials to be held responsible if they did not act promptly against a suspected child abuser. He is the first church official to make that statement during the trial, now in its fourth week.
The 11 plaintiffs are seeking $146.5 million from Mr. Kos and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas. The diocese maintains that it should not be held liable for Mr. Kos' behavior.
The 52-year-old Mr. Kos, who lives in San Diego, has not appeared at the civil trial. He already has been found liable for the sexual abuse because he has not responded to the lawsuits.
Also Tuesday, Father Doyle, a former parish priest, testified that the Catholic Church nationwide has had a "pattern of secrecy" regarding abuse by priests. He said the actions by the Dallas diocese involving Mr. Kos fit that pattern.
Randal Mathis, the diocese's attorney, denied that accusation.
"The pattern of secrecy operates in a number of ways," Father Doyle testified. "They don't report it to civil authorities. They don't tell parishioners. " Mr. Mathis vehemently objected when Ms. Demarest asked Father Doyle about two other former priests in the Dallas diocese who were accused of sexual misconduct before Mr. Kos and who also face civil suits.
The Rev. Robert Peebles Jr., according to his sworn deposition and medical records, sexually abused between seven and 20 boys from 1979 to 1986 during five church assignments. The Rev. William Hughes is accused of sexually abusing a girl in 1983 and 1984 while he was a priest in Irving.
"This is about Rudy Kos," Mr. Mathis complained to State District Judge Anne Ashby after Ms. Demarest brought up Mr. Peebles and Mr. Hughes.
"It demonstrates a pattern of failing to investigate," Ms. Demarest said. "It's a pattern of conspiracy. " Ms. Demarest said Father Doyle's testimony showed that local church policies were in clear violation of canon law. On Friday, the former No. 2 official in the Dallas diocese testified that local personnel policies do not allow church officials to respond to anonymous calls or to letters in which the writer will not allow his or her name to be known to the accused priest.
"This placed children at great risk," Ms. Demarest said. "These were preventable tragedies. " Mr. Mathis said in an interview that he plans to challenge Father Doyle's interpretation of canon law during questioning on Wednesday. And he said that the diocese did investigate Mr. Kos as early as 1985 but determined on the basis of two psychiatrists' evaluations that Mr. Kos was not a pedophile.
"He was believed to be an immature priest who was perhaps too emotionally attached to teenagers," Mr. Mathis said outside the courtroom. "It was not viewed as a dangerous situation. " Father Doyle said church officials should have investigated Mr. Kos more thoroughly when he applied to Holy Trinity Seminary at the University of Dallas after having been granted an annulment of a brief marriage.
After an interview with Mr. Kos' ex-wife, the head of the marriage tribunal wrote in a memo to himself that she "implies the petitioner has some problem. . . . Something is fishy - perhaps get petitioner to level with me. " Ms. Demarest alleged in her questioning of Father Doyle that the tribunal official didn't follow up on that memo or notify seminary officials of Mr. Kos' ex-wife's statement.
If her statement had been investigated and it had been discovered that Mr. Kos sexually abused his younger brothers as a child, as testimony has indicated, it could have "short-circuited" his application process to seminary, Father Doyle said.
Mr. Mathis, however, maintained that the tribunal official did ask Mr. Kos about his ex-wife's statements but that the official determined that no problem existed.
Once Mr. Kos was in seminary, officials should have more thoroughly investigated a complaint by two students that Mr. Kos had made sexual advances to a former student, Father Doyle testified.
"That's absolutely vital information concerning his suitability to be ordained," he said.
He said that once Mr. Kos became a priest, he demonstrated behavior common to priests who engage in sexual abuse - letting boys stay overnight in his rectory room and taking them on out-of-town trips.
"There's no question in my mind he should have been removed then," Father Doyle said.
By Ed Housewright
Under heated questioning, the former No. 2 official in the Dallas Diocese testified Thursday that he never asked the Rev. Rudolph "Rudy" Kos whether he was sexually abusing children even though he had suspicions.
"Certainly it would have been prudent to at least ask the predator if he was messing around with children," plaintiffs' attorney Windle Turley said to Monsignor Robert Rehkemper in the civil trial of Mr. Kos and the diocese.
"I didn't see any reason to," replied Monsignor Rehkemper, the diocese's former vicar general.
Mr. Turley repeatedly referred to a memo Monsignor Rehkemper wrote to himself in 1986, six years before Mr. Kos was removed for allegedly sexually abusing altar boys. In it, he writes that "there is no evidence that Rudy is either a homosexual or a child abuser - just suspicions because of his behavior. " Thursday's testimony was again marked by hostile exchanges between the 73-year-old Monsignor Rehkemper and plaintiffs' attorneys, just as it had been Friday, the cleric's first day on the witness stand.
That day, state District Judge Anne Ashby threatened to hold Monsignor Rehkemper in contempt for not directly answering questions. And on Thursday, she ruled several times that he was not being responsive.
Mr. Kos is accused of sexually abusing altar boys from 1981 to 1992 at three churches. Eleven plaintiffs are seeking $146.5 million from Mr. Kos and the diocese.
The diocese maintains that it should not be held liable for Mr. Kos' behavior.
Mr. Kos, who lives in San Diego, has not appeared at the trial, now in its fourth week. He already has been found liable for the sexual abuse because he has not responded to the lawsuits.
Earlier Thursday, Monsignor Rehkemper testified that a psychiatrist who examined Mr. Kos for pedophilia never gave him a "clean bill of health," as Randal Mathis, attorney for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas, has consistently maintained. The doctor's report was given to church officials in mid-1992, three months before the first youth complained of sexual abuse and Mr. Kos was removed.
"We believe it's in everybody's interest to gather more information," Dr. Stephen Montana wrote to Bishop Charles Grahmann.
He specifically mentioned the need for a plethysmograph, in which a sensor is attached to a man's penis and he is shown pictures of adults and children to see what arouses him.
But Bishop Grahmann rejected the test and Mr. Kos returned to work at St. John's Catholic Church in Ennis. In an interview, Mr. Mathis would not say why the bishop made that decision, saying Bishop Grahmann would explain during his testimony later in the trial.
"Bishop Grahmann understood there was no need to worry about Rudy Kos," Mr. Mathis said.
Two months before the psychiatric exam, the personnel board of the diocese met several times and suggested that Mr. Kos be removed. This came after a social worker who examined him said he appeared to be a "textbook pedophile" and recommended his removal.
Monsignor Rehkemper acknowledged that he began talking with a Greenville priest at that time about taking over for Mr. Kos. But he was not removed until six months later.
"You possibly knowingly subjected children to a high risk of injury while you shopped around for his replacement? " Mr. Turley asked.
"Possibly, but not knowingly," Monsignor Rehkemper replied. "I did not leave him there to molest children. " Mr. Turley pointed out that as early as 1986 Monsignor Rehkemper and others began telling Mr. Kos to stop letting boys spend the night in his rectory room. At one point, he warned Mr. Kos that he could be suspended if he continued the practice and said the diocese could be "jeopardized" by a lawsuit.
Yet boys continued to spend the night with Mr. Kos and he was not disciplined, Mr. Turley said.
"A child staying in the rectory overnight does not mean sexual abuse" was occurring, Monsignor Rehkemper answered. "You cannot take action against Father Kos or any other priest without evidence. The action has to be observed. " Mr. Turley maintained that church officials had that proof in mid-1992 when the assistant priest under Mr. Kos wrote a 12-page letter to church officials about Mr. Kos' behavior with boys. In it, he said he had seen Mr. Kos under the covers in his bed with a boy.
Monsignor Rehkemper testified that he didn't remember reading that part of the letter.
"That's the most important piece of evidence in the case," Mr. Turley said. "You were waiting for someone to see him sleeping in the bed with someone, and you just let it get by you? " "Yes," Monsignor Rehkemper said.
Late in the day Thursday, Judge Ashby granted a request to stop the testimony when Monsignor Rehkemper complained of being tired.
Mr. Mathis said outside the courtroom that the elderly priest "naturally did not have perfect memories of all the details."
By Ed Housewright
A high-ranking official who supervised former Catholic priest Rudolph "Rudy" Kos testified Friday that he was unaware of a national church policy to investigate even the "hint" of child sexual abuse.
"Church leaders are advised to investigate immediately, to remove a priest rapidly where the evidence warrants it, to seek appropriate treatment for the offender and to extend pastoral help to the victim of such a tragedy and to the victim's family," the policy says.
It was issued by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in 1989, three years before Mr. Kos was removed after a boy complained that Mr. Kos had sexually abused him.
That statement was followed up by a directive on sexual abuse from the United States Catholic Conference, which said "when there is even a hint of such an incident, investigate immediately. " Under questioning from plaintiffs' attorney Windle Turley, the former No. 2 official in the Dallas Diocese testified Friday that he doesn't remember seeing the two statements on child sexual abuse.
"Yes, it's a good policy," said Monsignor Robert Rehkemper, the former vicar general. "Not that I knew of them at the time. " Monsignor Rehkemper was testifying for the third day in the civil trial of Mr. Kos and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas.
Mr. Kos is accused of sexually abusing altar boys at three churches from 1981 to 1992. Eleven plaintiffs are seeking $146.5 million from Mr. Kos and the diocese.
The diocese maintains that it should not be held liable for Mr. Kos' conduct. Mr. Kos, who has not attended the trial, has already been found liable because he has not responded to the lawsuits.
Also Friday, Monsignor Rehkemper testified that he was unaware of a "blue ribbon" committee within the diocese to investigate child sexual abuse. It never received any information about Mr. Kos.
"I didn't know what the committee consisted of and who the members were," Monsignor Rehkemper said. "Some things happen without my knowledge. " Mr. Turley questioned how active the committee could have been if Monsignor Rehkemper didn't know about it and if it never considered reports that Mr. Kos might be sexually abusing boys.
Outside the courtroom, the diocese's attorney said it wasn't unusual that Monsignor Rehkemper wouldn't know about the committee.
Randal Mathis said it was established for the sole purpose of investigating an alleged incident of sexual abuse by a teacher in a parochial school and that the bishop was in charge of it.
"I know what he [Mr. Turley] is trying to imply, but the blue ribbon committee was set up to handle one specific situation," he said. "It handled it, and that was the end of it. " Mr. Turley asked Monsignor Rehkemper about Mr. Kos' evaluation by a psychiatrist who examined him for pedophilia three months before he was removed. The plaintiffs' attorney said that Mr. Kos was not sent back for follow-up exams, as recommended by Dr. Stephen Montana at the Catholic-run Saint Luke Institute in Suitland, Md.
Mr. Turley also asked why Bishop Charles Grahmann refused to go along with a recommendation by Dr. Montana to have Mr. Kos undergo a plethysmograph, in which a sensor is attached to a man's penis and he is shown pictures of adults and children to see what arouses him.
Mr. Turley suggested that Bishop Grahmann, who had recently become the diocese's top official, was afraid that the test would reveal Mr. Kos to be a pedophile. He also suggested that an ensuing scandal would hurt Bishop Grahmann's chance to become a cardinal.
"That's the silliest thing we've heard yet in the case," Mr. Mathis said in an interview.
He said Bishop Grahmann canceled the plethysmograph and didn't require Mr. Kos to go back to Saint Luke's for further treatment because officials there assured him that Mr. Kos was not a pedophile.
"Bishop Grahmann demonstrated a firm resolve to address this kind of problem," Mr. Mathis said.
Mr. Turley also asked Monsignor Rehkemper about a statement that he read to parishioners at All Saints Catholic Church in North Dallas in 1993, eight months after a boy complained that Mr. Kos sexually abused him and Mr. Kos was sent to a treatment center for pedophiles. At the time, Monsignor Rehkemper was pastor at All Saints, having left his position as vicar general.
"I wish to state that at this time, these are allegations and not proven facts," Monsignor Rehkemper said to church members.
"You knew that wasn't true," Mr. Turley said, referring to Mr. Kos' confession.
Later, Mr. Turley asked Monsignor Rehkemper if he had wondered in hindsight about anything he could have done to prevent the sexual abuse by Mr. Kos.
"I guess I have a few times after I found out about the tragedies," Monsignor Rehkemper replied.
By Mark Wrolstad
The former second-in-command for the Catholic Church in Dallas testified Tuesday that he would have immediately confronted a popular priest 11 years ago about having sex with teenage boys if such an accusation had been mentioned to him.
But Monsignor Robert Rehkemper said officials' and parishioners' suspicions did not reach that level during a decade in which Rudolph "Rudy" Kos allegedly was abusing altar boys at three area churches.
The Dallas diocese's former vicar general, now pastor of All Saints Catholic Church in North Dallas, where much of the abuse allegedly occurred, told jurors that a fellow priest raised questions in 1986 about boys staying overnight with Mr. Kos. But the monsignor said no one complained about Mr. Kos during the five years before or the five years after 1986.
Later under hostile questioning, Father Rehkemper acknowledged that the boys' "inappropriate" visits never ceased but said he could not have stopped them.
"I don't like it, but it doesn't mean there's sexual abuse going on," he said.
The monsignor testified in civil court for a full day as the diocese tried to rebut accusations that it turned a deaf ear toward many indications that Mr. Kos was a pedophile and didn't do enough to stop him or warn parishioners.
The case against Mr. Kos and the diocese involves 11 young men who say they were sexually abused in their youth by the former priest between 1981 and 1992. Mr. Kos was finally removed as pastor of St. John's Church in Ennis after one of the accusers spoke out.
The plaintiffs are seeking $146.5 million in damages, partly on grounds that the diocese was negligent in supervising its priest.
Mr. Kos, 52, who now works in San Diego as a free-lance paralegal, has already been found liable for damages by state District Judge Anne Ashby because he failed to respond to the lawsuits. He has not attended the trial.
The diocese denies any negligence.
As the trial begins its fifth week, Father Rehkemper has spent all or part of four days on the witness stand.
The 73-year-old church official testified that just before Mr. Kos was ordained in 1981, a fellow seminarian told him that Mr. Kos had "made a pass" at another student.
"When he hit me with this I said, `This is really strange because Rudy had been here for four years,' " and was regularly evaluated,” the white-haired monsignor recalled. "Here we are at the very end and we get this information. I said, `It's quite unusual, and it comes at a bad time, naturally.' " Father Rehkemper said he passed the information to the head of the seminary and told the informant to do the same.
In 1986, when Mr. Kos was assistant pastor at St. Luke's parish in Irving after spending four years at All Saints, his supervisor, the Rev. Dan Clayton, complained of the boys' sleepovers.
He provided detailed logs of Mr. Kos' overnight visitors in the rectory, or church living quarters.
As a result, the priest was warned to halt the overnight stays and a 19-year-old, who had lived with him for about three years under the guise of being adopted, moved out, testimony has shown.
The young man is among those suing.
Asked what he would have done if Father Clayton had concluded that Mr. Kos was engaging in sex, Father Rehkemper said, "I would've immediately gone to him and asked if he was having sex with these kids." Mr. Kos told the monsignor that "he certainly was not a child abuser," according to notes that the senior official made after a meeting.
The diocese had Mr. Kos evaluated in early 1992 after an assistant pastor at St. John's, who was also a psychiatrist, labeled him a sexual addict.
A Dallas psychiatrist determined that Mr. Kos wasn't a pedophile but merely an immature person who wanted a family.
The diocese later sought a second opinion when another therapist said it appeared that Mr. Kos was "a textbook pedophile. " A Catholic-run institution in Maryland concluded that Mr. Kos was not a pedophile but recommended in writing that he be given a specialized test for sexual arousal. The evaluation was never completed; Bishop Charles Grahmann, who has yet to testify, canceled the test.
Attorney Sylvia Demarest, representing three of the plaintiffs, attacked the defense's contention that Mr. Kos deceived the diocese as well as professional evaluators and accused Father Rehkemper of failing to stop the priest.
"Your presumption is that it's my call," the monsignor testified. "You don't have to tell me what my call is. " In pointed questioning about the Dallas diocese's evaluation of priests, Ms. Demarest noted that three priests in a group of seven brought into the diocese in 1981 molested children.
"Do you believe every one of them was so extremely clever and tricky that he just fooled the diocese? " she asked.
"I do," the monsignor replied. "We all know a lot of things now."
By Mark Wrolstad
A Dallas psychiatrist testified Wednesday that he never concluded that former Catholic priest Rudolph "Rudy" Kos wasn't a pedophile and never gave church officials such an assurance.
Dr. Richard Jaeckle's testimony contradicted earlier assertions by the Dallas diocese's former second-in-command that the psychiatrist advised him in 1992 that Mr. Kos was not a child abuser but merely immature and overly emotionally attached to young boys.
Attorneys for 11 young men in the Dallas County civil trial of Mr. Kos and the diocese are trying to show that church officials were negligent in supervising the one-time priest and tried to conceal evidence that he sexually abused boys from 1981 to 1992.
Dr. Jaeckle told jurors that the diocese did not provide him with a complete view of complaints and questions about Mr. Kos' long pattern of having adolescent boys stay overnight with him in his living quarters while he was assigned to three area churches.
The psychiatrist also indicated that he felt misled by Monsignor Robert Rehkemper, former vicar general for the diocese and now pastor at All Saints Catholic Church in North Dallas, as to how thoroughly church officials had investigated Mr. Kos' behavior.
"He led me to believe there were these complaints and they were later resolved and that was it," said Dr. Jaeckle (pronounced Jake-lee). "They were never able to pin anything on him."
The plaintiffs' attorneys say the diocese dropped the ball by not following up on complaints and never enforcing its 1986 demand that Mr. Kos stop the sleepovers.
But on cross-examination by the diocese's attorney, Dr. Jaeckle said he never had even a suspicion that the priest was abusing boys during the nine months he treated him in 1992.
"I thought it was improbable he was an abuser, but it was not impossible, and I could not rule it out," he testified. "I did not reach any conclusion about anything illegal or even suspicious." When Mr. Kos admitted during a late September 1992 therapy session that he had sexually abused one boy three times, Dr. Jaeckle said, it was a "total surprise" and completely at odds with his previous opinions.
The psychiatrist said Mr. Kos also said that at age 5 he had witnessed his father attacking and nearly killing his mother. The boy then went to an orphanage for a year.
"This had an absolutely devastating effect on him . . . and totally affected his whole personality development," Dr. Jaeckle said.
Earlier in September 1992, diocesan officials had received the first written accusations against Mr. Kos from one of the plaintiffs. The priest was suspended that month.
At the late September session, Mr. Jaeckle's notes show, Mr. Kos said of his predicament: "This is different than the previous administration, which tried to hide this." The psychiatrist saw Mr. Kos 31 times and had considered the priest's continued attendance as evidence that he was not a molester.
Randal Mathis, an attorney the diocese, asked if Mr. Kos' apparent openness was part of his shield.
"That's what made detection of him through the years so difficult," Dr. Jaeckle said. "He's been secretive, and it's gone on so long. . . . I doubt there's much possibility at all" of changing his behavior.
The diocese maintains that its former priest's deceptions fooled officials, parishioners and professionals and that the diocese should not be held liable for his actions.
Judge Anne Ashby already has found Mr. Kos, 52, liable because he did not respond to the lawsuits.
The jury will decide how much, if anything, Mr. Kos should pay in damages and whether the diocese is liable and should pay.
The plaintiffs are asking for a total of $146.5 million.
Mr. Kos, who has moved to San Diego and is not attending the trial, also faces criminal charges on one count of indecency with a child and one count of sexual contact with a child.
Monsignor Rehkemper contacted Dr. Jaeckle in December 1991 to treat Mr. Kos, then pastor of St. John's parish in Ennis, because his assistant priest was troubled by the sleepovers. Mr. Kos had previously been an assistant at All Saints and at St. Luke's parish in Irving.
Dr. Jaeckle denied telling the monsignor that Mr. Kos wasn't an abuser. He also said he never made such a statement to Bishop Charles Grahmann. Last week, the priest who complained about Mr. Kos in 1991 testified that the bishop told him that Dr. Jaeckle had cleared Mr. Kos.
Answering questions from attorney Windle Turley, who represents eight plaintiffs, Dr. Jaeckle said he was never told key details of Mr. Kos' background, including: that his ex-wife told a diocesan official in 1975 that he was gay and had a problem with boys; that the priest was threatened with suspension in 1986 if the boys' overnight stays continued; and that another therapist said Mr. Kos "appeared to be a textbook pedophile" in 1992.
"That very first red flag, the account from his wife, probably would have been enough," Dr. Jaeckle said. "That's an awful lot of smoke, and I believe there's fire under smoke. " Dr. Jaeckle said he was hired as a therapist rather than a consultant, so he never attempted to diagnose any sexual problem and didn't request diocesan records.
The jury heard also from a St. John's parishioner, who said she complained to diocesan officials in 1989 and 1992 letters about the boys' sleepovers but received no response. Her testimony contradicted that of the monsignor, who said the diocese received no complaints about Mr. Kos from church members.
Wednesday's proceedings culminated with the start of testimony from an 18-year-old man, the youngest of Mr. Kos' alleged victims.
The witness, who just graduated from high school, says he was sexually abused in the former priest's living quarters after serving as an altar boy at scores of Masses.
He said the abuse began when he was 10 and lasted about two years.
"Pretty much every time I went over there," he told jurors just before they were excused for the day.
By Mark Wrolstad
Two men testified Thursday that they were systematically sexually abused as adolescents by former Catholic priest Rudolph "Rudy" Kos, leaving them with shattered faith and psychological problems.
An 18-year-old, who graduated from high school in Ennis last month, told Dallas County jurors that he endured more than 450 sexual contacts at the hands of his "best friend," beginning when he was a 10-year-old altar boy.
But he said he considers himself "very, very lucky" because his abuse was not as severe as other victims'.
In sometimes tearful testimony, the other man said that sexual abuse at ages 11 and 12 when he was sent to Mr. Kos for counseling at All Saints Catholic Church in North Dallas has left him haunted by fears that his worst emotional turmoil is still ahead.
"Some people fear becoming a pedophile. Some fear being embarrassed. I fear finally waking up one day and realizing that I'm nuts and I'm crazy," said the plaintiff, a 26-year-old Dallas home-construction supervisor. "There's no question about it that it's lurking out there. " The two men were the fifth and sixth plaintiffs to testify in the civil trial of Mr. Kos, who is said to have targeted boys having problems at home, and the Catholic Diocese of Dallas.
Eleven young men, the oldest now 31, are seeking a total of $146.5 million in damages for abuse they said occurred between 1981 and 1992 at three Dallas-area churches. They say that diocese officials were negligent in not acting more decisively against Mr. Kos' persistent practice of having boys stay overnight with him.
The diocese contends that its officials bear no blame for Mr. Kos' actions and that they removed him as soon as possible in September 1992, when one of the plaintiffs put his accusations of abuse in writing.
Mr. Kos, 52, already has been found liable for the abuse because he never responded to the lawsuits. He has moved to San Diego and is not attending the trial but faces a criminal trial later this year on two charges relating to the accusations.
The 18-year-old, the youngest of the plaintiffs, told jurors that "Father Rudy" sexually abused him for about three years during frequent sleepovers in the church rectory or living quarters at St. John's Catholic Church in Ennis.
He is the only plaintiff from the Ennis parish, which Mr. Kos led from 1988-92, although he testified that the former priest abused other boys.
Because of diocese objections, state District Judge Anne Ashby did not let him say how many other boys he believes were abused in Ennis.
The man said the abuse left him with plunging grades, crippling doubts about the Catholic religion and an inability to trust people.
"I feel there's a special place in hell for him, reserved with his name on it," he said of Mr. Kos. "He always told me I was his favorite. He told me he loved me . . . and I knew he wouldn't do anything to hurt me. "
"I will always believe in God, but I will never trust a priest again."
Under gentle cross-examination, the 18-year-old acknowledged that the sleepovers and the amount of time he spent with the priest concerned his mother enough that she asked him several times whether anything w as going on.
Once, she asked whether Mr. Kos had ever touched him "in any wrong way." The boy consistently denied it. The mother even asked Mr. Kos directly at one point, telling him, "If something does happen, you will pay the consequences," the 18-year-old said.
The diocese does not dispute any of the young men's accounts of the abuse but maintains that Mr. Kos was so deceptive and manipulative that he fooled everyone.
Both men described similar sexual abuse. They said the episodes would begin with the priest massaging their feet and escalate into rubbing their feet against his crotch. They said the priest was clothed.
The 18-year-old said the abuse even happened once in his own home while he and Mr. Kos lay under a blanket watching TV with the boy's family.
Other plaintiffs have testified that Mr. Kos performed oral sex on them and plied them heavily with alcohol, sedatives and marijuana.
The Dallas man said he was a hyperactive child in an intensely Catholic family and was counseled by Mr. Kos for about nine months, starting in 1983.
He said that after being abused, he eventually turned to alcohol and drugs, dropped out of high school and committed petty crimes.
Both men said they did not recognize the abuse for what it was at the time.
"I knew he wasn't doing anything wrong because he couldn't, because he was a priest. That would be like saying God was doing something wrong," the Dallas man said. "He was not just a priest, he's my priest. He's my buddy. He's my best friend at the time."
The 26-year-old said he has problems with trust, intimacy and commitment. Asked by his attorney, Sylvia Demarest, what the abuse has done to his faith, he said, "What faith? " The trial, in its fifth week, was originally expected to last about a month. Attorneys now say it will take another month.
By Mark Wrolstad
Jurors who will decide whether the Dallas Catholic Diocese is liable for a former priest's alleged sexual abuse of boys heard testimony Friday that church officials worked to keep abuse by another priest secret.
The father of two boys, who have said they were abused by two different priests from All Saints parish in North Dallas in the mid-1980s, testified that when the first boy's abuse became known, diocese officials discouraged him from pressing charges because of the scandal it would cause.
"If we prosecuted, it would bring great scandal on the church and controversy and conflict within the church parish," the father recalled being told by a top diocese official in 1984. The family asked that charges be dropped, but church officials later broke a promise to remove the priest, the man said.
Unknown to him at the time, his younger son allegedly had been abused the previous year by former priest Rudolph "Rudy" Kos.
Attorneys for 11 plaintiffs in the civil trial of Mr. Kos and the diocese are trying to show that church officials conspired to conceal child sexual abuse by Mr. Kos and that their failure to remove him sooner allowed the abuse to continue and involve other children.
Mr. Kos, 52, is accused of abusing boys as young as 9 between 1981 and 1992 while he was an assistant pastor at All Saints and at St. Luke's Catholic Church in Irving and pastor at St. John's parish in Ennis.
In an attempt to broaden their case and bolster the conspiracy allegations, the plaintiffs' attorneys have added sexual abuse accusations against other priests to their strategy.
Over continuing objections by the defense attorney for the diocese, state District Judge Anne Ashby has allowed repeated mentions of former priests Robert Peebles Jr. and William Hughes, each of whom faces his own civil trial next year.
The issue touched off another round of legal arguments Friday after the jury was sent out of the courtroom.
The diocese attorney contended that the Peebles details would be inflammatory and overwhelming to the jury, while plaintiffs' attorneys argued that the case shows the church's "pattern of concealment. " Mr. Peebles has been sued for allegedly abusing four boys. The allegations include attempted sodomy against the older son of Friday's witness.
Mr. Hughes was sued for allegedly abusing a 13-year-old girl for a year beginning in 1983 while he was an assistant pastor at St. Luke's.
The Dallas diocese also is a defendant in those two lawsuits.
Mr. Peebles had five church assignments from 1979 to 1986 and admitted in a deposition that he sexually abused seven boys; his medical treatment records indicate that he had 20 victims.
The father of the two boys took the stand Friday after his younger son, now 26, testified Thursday. The son, who described his family as intensely Catholic, said he was abused at ages 11 and 12 after being sent to Mr. Kos for counseling.
The father said Mr. Peebles abused his older son in May 1984 at age 15. The incident happened during a visit by the boy at Fort Benning, Ga., where Mr. Peebles had gone to become an Army chaplain.
The man testified he was asked by Dallas diocese officials to allow the military to discharge Mr. Peebles and keep the abuse secret rather than press charges in a court martial.
He said that the Rev. Robert Fellhauer, who was in charge of church law for the diocese, assured him that Mr. Peebles would no longer be a priest and would receive "extensive, ongoing therapy and be closely monitored. " "I remember him telling me, `We take care of our own,' " the man said.
Chancellor Raphael Kamel, then the diocese's No. 3 official, called the abuse an isolated incident, the man testified.
"He's never done anything like this before," the man recalled being told. "It caught everybody by surprise. They felt very bad about it. " In a letter asking the Army to drop the matter, the boy's parents cited advice from child psychologist Ray McNamara that testifying "clearly . . . would be harmful to his emotional well-being. " Mr. Peebles received another Dallas church assignment within about a month and was treated by Dr. McNamara while he was also treating the boy.
Mr. Peebles is accused of abusing three other boys after that.
The psychologist also is being sued in the Peebles case.
After the trial recessed, diocese attorney Randal Mathis said the man's testimony had not hurt his client.
"There was nothing swept under the table," said Mr. Mathis. He said Mr. Peebles was evaluated by several doctors in 1984 and "was not believed to be a threat to children at the time. "
By Ed Housewright
A psychologist who treated a Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing a teenager destroyed treatment records to keep them away from plaintiffs suing the Dallas Diocese, a plaintiffs' attorney charged Tuesday.
Dr. Ray McNamara saw the Rev. Robert Peebles Jr. 84 times from 1984 to 1986, but the doctor has none of his treatment records, said Sylvia Demarest, an attorney representing three plaintiffs in a civil trial against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas and former priest Rudolph "Rudy" Kos.
An attorney for Dr. McNamara denied Ms. Demarest's allegations about destroying records.
"I think the reason we don't have the documents is because no one wants us to see what they would have contained," Ms. Demarest said after Dr. McNamara finished his testimony Tuesday.
Ms. Demarest said the testimony about Mr. Peebles shows that Mr. Kos - the principal focus so far of the six-week-old trial - was not the only Dallas priest sexually abusing youths.
She said she thinks the treatment records would have shown that Dr. McNamara knew that Mr. Peebles had abused more than one teenager and that the doctor didn't report it to church officials.
Mr. Peebles was removed as a priest in 1986 after other allegations of sexual abuse of children surfaced.
Lancaster Smith Jr., Dr. McNamara's attorney, said the doctor didn't take notes on most of the sessions with Mr. Peebles and wasn't required by law to keep the notes he did take.
"There's nothing to hide," Mr. Smith said.
The 52-year-old Mr. Kos, who has not attended the trial, is accused of abusing altar boys at three churches from 1981 to 1992.
Eleven plaintiffs are seeking $146.5 million.
Mr. Kos has already been found liable for the abuse because he has not responded to the lawsuits. The diocese maintains that it should not be held liable for Mr. Kos' conduct.
Mr. Peebles, who served with Mr. Kos at All Saints Catholic Church in North Dallas in 1981 and 1982, is a defendant in another sexual abuse case scheduled to go to trial next year. He is not a defendant in the case involving Mr. Kos.
Mr. Peebles had five church assignments from 1979 to 1986 and has admitted in a deposition that he sexually abused seven boys.
Medical treatment records indicate he sexually abused 16 youths.
Most of the testimony Tuesday involved Mr. Peebles, not Mr. Kos.
At several points, the attorney for the Dallas Diocese complained to state District Judge Anne Ashby that testimony about Mr. Peebles was irrelevant to the case against Mr. Kos.
And Mr. Smith objected several times, saying Ms. Demarest and Windle Turley, the other plaintiffs' attorney, were not giving Dr. McNamara an opportunity to answer their questions.
When Dr. McNamara would not answer their questions with a simple "yes" or "no," the plaintiffs' attorneys immediately objected to the judge that he was being nonresponsive.
"It's very difficult to answer `yes-no' questions I think are misleading," Dr. McNamara said at one point.
The trial has been marked by heated exchanges between attorneys and witnesses.
Also on Tuesday, Ms. Demarest said Dr. McNamara created a conflict of interest by treating Mr. Peebles after he saw the 15-year-old boy Mr. Peebles is accused of sexually abusing in 1984 while he was an Army chaplain in Georgia.
Dr. McNamara told the boy's parents that having their son testify in court-martial proceedings would be emotionally harmful.
His parents ultimately wrote a letter to Army officials asking that Mr. Peebles be allowed to resign instead. He was, then he returned to Dallas where he was given an assignment as a priest within a month.
Mr. Peebles was removed as a priest in 1986 after more allegations of sexual abuse of boys and a report by a Catholic psychiatric institution in Maryland. It recommended "comprehensive inpatient treatment" for his "inappropriate sexual activity." In a letter to a Galveston doctor in 1987, Mr. Peebles, who was engaged to be married, wrote that it is "absolutely imperative that I never molest a child again. "
"As time goes on, I am more and more aware of the horrible effect it would have on my victims," Mr. Peebles wrote to Dr. Lee Emory. "First, you know that I never molested a stranger or even a casual acquaintance. There always had to be that element of trust and even adulation on the part of both the boy and his parents.”
"It was practically there automatically as a priest, and now I am no longer a priest. The victims are just not as available. . . . I am still a pedophile, and I am still capable of molesting children. But I turn my eyes away immediately. "
Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.