Rev. Stephen Wise

Summary of Case: Wise was publicly accused in a 2008 lawsuit of having sexually abused a boy in the late 1970s over a four year period. A second man came forward in 2011 with claims that Wise sexually abused him in the 1980s over a two year period, when the man was a 10-12 year old boy. He said Wise had recruited him to be an altar boy. Both accusers said Wise took on a "father figure" role with them. The diocese is said to have known about Wise's proclivity, and that the first accuser, as a child, asked a bishop if it was "okay that Fr. Wise touched" him. Wise left the priesthood in 1986 and later married. The diocese stated in 2011 that Wise was in the process of being released from the clerical state.

Ordained: 1979
Incardinated: Kansas City-St. Joseph


Start Stop Parish/Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Kansas City-St. Joseph bishop was John Joseph Sullivan (1977-1993)

1981 Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

Kansas City

Wise was accused in a 2008 lawsuit of having molested a boy at the Cathedral in the late 1970s. Wise's accuser, a 37 year-old man in 2008, said Wise befriended his mother, who was divorced from the boy's father, and that Wise took on the role of "father figure". He said the abuse went on for about four years.

MO 2/3 A 2011 lawsuit filed by a second accuser claimed the 2008 accuser approached a bishop and asked "if was okay if Fr. Wise touched" him, and that the bishop's response was, "be a good boy and quit running in the church."
1981 1985 Our Lady of the Presentation

Lee's Summit

In 2011 a 39 year-old man accused Wise in a lawsuit of sexually abusing him at this parish for two years, when the man was 10-12 years old. He said Wise recruited him to be an altar boy, and became a father figure. He said Wise orally and anally sodomized him. This accuser was serving prison time for an adult sex crime at the time of the lawsuit filing.

MO 2/2

Our Lady of the Presentation had a school with 142-213 students.

The Oct. 2011 lawsuit also accused the diocese of knowing Wise was molesting children, yet keeping him in ministry, moving him from parish to parish.

1981 1985 Truman Medical Center East Kansas City MO   This was a chaplaincy of Our Lady of the Presentation in Lee's Summit.
1985 1986 St. Gregory Barbarigo Maryville MO  

St. Gregory's had a school with 145 students.

Wise is not indexed beyond the 1986 Directory. He left the priesthood in 1986 and later married.

In Oct. 2011 the diocese said Wise was in the process of being laicized.


Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1980-1986)

Statement of the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City and St. Joseph, My Fox Kansas City, June 19, 2008
New Lawsuits Filed against Clergy, By Mark Morris, Kansas City Star, June 19, 2008
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
Sex Abuse Lawsuit Filed against Former Priest, By Judy L. Thomas, Kansas City Star, October 4, 2011
SNAP Statement on Fr. Stephen Wise, By Kay Goodnow, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, October 4, 2011
Former Ls Priest Sued Again for Abuse, By Rob Roberts, Lee's Summit Journal, October 6, 2011

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 Wise'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 21, 2012