Rev. Sylvester J. Hoppe

Summary of Case: Hoppe was accused in lawsuits in June 2002 and August 2005 of having sexually abused boys in Missouri during the 1950s. He denied the 2002 allegations. Some of the abuse is said to have occurred at an orphanage and at a Boy Scouts gathering. Hoppe was involved with the Boys Scouts for 75 years. He retired from active ministry in 1991 and died in November 2002. In December 2017 the diocese confirmed that it had received a seventh claim of child sexual abuse by Hoppe, dating to 1953-1956.

: 1946
Retired: 1990
Died: Nov. 10, 2002


Start Stop Parish/Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


St. Joseph bishop was Charles Hubert Le Blond (1933-1956)

1950 Immaculate Conception

St. Joseph

In a 2005 lawsuit, a man accused Hoppe of sexually abusing him beginning in 1950, when the man was a 13 years-old. He said Hoppe recruited him to be an altar boy a few years earlier, when he was 10 or 11 years-old, and that he would sleep in Hoppe's bed with him on overnight trips.

MO 2/2 Immaculate Conception had a school with 150-176 students.
1950 1956 St. Mary's Girls' Orphanage

St. Joseph

Hoppe was accused in a 2002 lawsuit of having sexually abused a boy from 1951-1954, beginning when the boy was about 12 years old. Some of the abuse is said to have occurred in St. Joseph. Hoppe's accuser said he was placed in an orphanage run by Hoppe (there was also a boys' orphanage), and that the priest said that because he wasn't Catholic the boy had to stay in the rectory with him.

Another man accused Hoppe in 2005 of having sexually abused him when he was an orphanage resident in from 1951-1956, beginning when the man was 10 years old. He said Hoppe gave him candy, clothes, wine and other gifts.

In December 2017 the diocese confirmed that it had received a seventh claim of child sexual abuse against Hoppe, said to have occurred 1953-1956.

MO Chaplain St. Mary's had 28-10 girls.
1950 1955 Diocesan Director of Charities St. Joseph MO    
1952 1956 Diocesan Director of Boy Scout Activities

St. Joseph

Hoppe was accused in 2002 of having sexually abused a boy in 1953 during a Boy Scout jamboree in Southern California. He is said to have also sexually abused this boy and two others on a two week trip to California in 1954.

MO   A chapel at Camp Geiger in St. Joseph was named in honor of Hoppe in 1999 for his nearly 75 years of service with the Boy Scouts. Hoppe's name was removed in 2005 under pressure from some of Hoppe's accusers.
1955 1956 Catholic Welfare Bureau Vice- President Tarkio MO    


The Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese was established Aug. 29, 1956 . Its bishop was John Patrick Cody (1956-1961), followed by Charles Herman Helmsing (1962-1977)

1968 St. Paul's Tarkio MO 1/1 Administrator  
1968 1971 St. Columban's Chillicothe MO 1/2 Hoppe is referred to as "Very Rev. Sylvester J. Hoppe, V.F.".
1969 1971 Dean of Chillicothe Deanery   MO    


Helmsing was replaced by John Joseph Sullivan (1977-1993)

1983 St. Ann's Excelsior Springs MO 1/1  
1983 1990 Sacred Heart Norbone MO 1/1  


Raymond James Boland succeeded Sullivan (1993-2005)

2002 Retired St. Joseph MO  

Per the Directories, Hoppe was living in Noyes, MO.

He was known to have concelebrated a mass in March 2002 at St. Joseph's in St. Joseph, MO, at a Catholic Scouting awards ceremony. The first lawsuit naming him as a perpetrator of child sexual abuse was filed in June, 2002. Hoppe denied the allegations.

Hoppe died Nov. 10, 2002.


Source: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1946-2003)

Lawsuit Alleges Sex Abuse in 1950s, By Judy L. Thomas and Matt Stearns, Kansas City Star, June 25, 2002
Lawsuit Alleges Abuse by Priest 49 Years Ago , By Carol McGraw, Orange County Register, June 26, 2002
Valencia Man Files Lawsuit Accusing Priest of Molestation, By Naush Boghossian, Daily News of Los Angeles, June 26, 2002
New Lawsuits Allege 1950s Sexual Abuse by Priest, By Kevin Murphy, The Kansas City Star [Missouri], August 30, 2005
Topekan Files Claim against Diocese, Associated Press, carried in Topeka Capital Journal, August 31, 2005
SNAP Wants Priest's Name off Scout Chapel, By Margaret Stafford, Associated Press, carried in The Kansas City Star [Kansas City MO], September 21, 2005
Priest's Name Removed from Scout Camp, KMBC-TV, September 27, 2005
The Priests Involved, Kansas City Star, August 20, 2008
Tentative Settlement Reached in KC Priest Abuse Cases, By Mark Morris, Kansas City Star, August 20, 2008
Sexual abuse allegations against former local priest confirmed, by Brittany Zegers, Excelsior Springs Standard, January 19, 2018

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Hoppe's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on January 22, 2018.