Lawsuit accusing Kansas priest of sexual abuse in 1980s can go forward, court says

Kansas City Star

January 22, 2021

By Katie Moore and Judy L. Thomas

A lawsuit alleging a Topeka priest sexually abused a boy in the 1980s can proceed after an appeal by church officials was struck down this week.

The lawsuit, which says the boy was 9 years old when a priest at St. Matthew’s Church began abusing him, was filed in Wyandotte County District Court in August 2017.

The lawsuit names as defendants a priest identified in court records only as M.J. and the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, which has authority over St. Matthew’s.

It alleges that M.J., a former priest, engaged in a pattern of sexual abuse during his assignments to parishes in northeast Kansas. According to the plaintiff, who is now in his 40s, the priest abused him at the church’s rectory, the Topeka YMCA and on trips until he was 12. The lawsuit says the boy repressed the memories until late fall 2015 when news reports of priest abuse emerged in the media.

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