Rev. Thomas J. Ward

Summary of Case: Ward was accused in a 1994 lawsuit of having sexually abused a 14 year-old boy who had confided sexual problems to him during confession. The accuser said the abuse when on for about ten years. Ward denied the allegations. Ward was placed on leave after the lawsuit was filed, but was allowed to return six months later after parishioners voted overwhelmingly for his return. Ward retired in 1996, but continued to work as an assistant at various parishes. Despite that, Bishop Boland stated in 2002 that no priest accused of child sexual abuse was in a parish or a school.

Ordained: 1963
Incardinated: Kansas City-St. Joseph
Retired: 1996


Start Stop Parish/Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Kansas City-St. Joseph bishop was Charles Herman Helmsing (1962-1977)

1963 St. Augustine's Kansas City MO 3/3 St. Augustine's had a school with 442 students.
1963 1964 St. Ann's Fairmount (Independence} MO 2/2 St. Ann's had a school with 240 students.
1964 1965 St. Stephen's Kansas City MO 2/2 St. Stephen's had a school with 288 students.
1965 1971 U.S. Armed Forces     Chaplain  
1971 1972 St. Thomas More Kansas City MO 2/3 St. Thomas More had a school with 301 students.
1972 1977 St. Mary's Independence MO 1/3, 1/2 St. Mary's had a school with 275-326 students. The 1977 Directory indicates it became part of consolidated schools called Holy Family.
1972 1977 Church of Santa Fe Buckner MO   This was a mission of St. Mary's in Independence.
1972 1977 St. Thomas the Apostle East Independence MO   This was a mission of St. Mary's in Independence.
1973 1977 Diocesan Consultors        


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

1979 St. Patrick's Kansas City MO 1/3 St. Patrick's had a school with 134 students.
1978 1987 Diocesan Building Commission Kansas City MO    
1979 1988 St. Catherine's

Kansas City

Ward was accused in a 1994 lawsuit of "seducing" a 14 year -old boy who had confided in him during confession about sexual problems. Ward's accuser said the sexual abuse went on for about ten years.Ward denied the allegations.

MO 1/2, 1/3 St. Catherine's had a school with 240 students. The 1981-1988 Directories indicate it became part of consolidated schools called Our Lady of Peace.
1987 1995 Priests' Pension Plan Administrative Committee Kansas City MO    
1988 1990 St. Therese's Kansas City North MO 3/3 St. Therese's had a school with 368 students.


Raymond James Boland replaced Sullivan (1993-2005)

Feb. 1994 Nativity of the Blessed Virgin

Independence MO 1/2 Nativity had a school with 295 students.
Feb. 1994 Aug. 15, 1994 Suspended       This is per news reports. Ward was reinstated by Boland after parishioners voted to bring him back. He was to be restricted from involvement with children while a lawsuit was pending.
1995 1996 Leave of Absence        


Boland was succeeded by Robert William Finn

2011 Retired Lee's Summit MO  

Ward continued in retirement to work as an "assisting priest" at St. Margaret Mary's in Lee's Summit, as well as other parishes, despite Boland's stating in 2002, "We presently have no priest, teacher or youth minister in a parish or school who has ever been accused of any form of child sexual abuse."The diocesan vicar general explained that this remained true because Ward was not officially assigned to any parish.


Source: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1963-2011)

Sued Priest Is Reinstated at Parish, Sex-Abuse Lawsuit Defendant to Be Barred from Work with Youths, By Greg Clark, Kansas City Star, September 1, 1994
Diocese Alters Its Policy on Clergy Abuse, By Rick Montgomery, Kansas City Star [Kansas & Missouri], September 14, 1994
Diocese out of Lawsuit over Abuse, By Joe Lambe, Kansas City Star, October 14, 1994
Churches Are Open to Suits, Court Says
Sexual Abuse Allegations against Priests Could Now Go to Circuit Level for Trial, By Joe Lambe, Kansas City Star, March 6, 1996
Decision Restricts Liability of Church in Sex Abuse Cases, By Joe Lambe, Kansas City Star, August 20, 1997
Accused Priest, Now Retired, Has Church Role, Diocese Says, 'No Children at Risk', By Judy L. Thomas and Matt Stearns, Kansas City Star, April 13, 2002
Mother Superior Court, By Kendrick Blackwood, The Pitch [Kansas City], October 16, 2003
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

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 Ward'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 March 23, 2012