Rev. Placidus Kieffer, O.S.B.

Summary of Case: Accused of abusing a 16-year-old boy who came to him for help in 1963 at St. John's parish in Burlington. Kieffer is one of three Benedictine priests from St. Benedict's Abbey in Atchison KS who have been accused of abuse at St. John's. Kieffer was ordained in 1932 and worked at St. John's 1962-1969. He was also pastor for 21 years at 6 Kansas parishes, and taught at a high school in Atchison KS for 8 years, where he was also the chaplain. Kieffer died in 1990.

Ordained: 1932
Seminary: St. Benedict's Abbey, Atchison KS
Incardinated: Originally listed in Leavenworth KS diocese, which became the Kansas City KS diocese. Listed in the Davenport diocese when Kieffer was assigned there.
Died: 2/15/90


The accusation against Kieffer is described in Burlington Man Says He Was Abused, by Dale Alison of the Hawk Eye in Burlington.

Start Stop Parish Town State Position Comment
1932 1935 St. Benedict's Abbey Atchison

1935 1938 St. Benedict High School Atchison

KS Chaplain starting in 1936. Other priests at this high school were later assigned to St. John's in Burlington IA: Rev. Anthony Reilman, O.S.B., principal; Rev. Ambrose Keating, O.S.B.; and Rev. Fabian Harshaw, O.S.B.  
1938 1942 St. Benedict's Abbey Atchison

1942 1948 St. Bede's Kelly KS Pastor, 1/1. Grammar and high school had 135 students in 1942-43.
1948 1953 Maur Hill School Atchison

KS Chaplain into 1951, 3/11. Two other priests on the 1949-50 faculty from later assigned to St. John's in Burlington IA: Rev. Anthony Reilman, O.S.B., principal; and Rev. Fabian Harshaw, O.S.B. Approximately 200 students.
1953 1963 St. John's Doniphan KS Pastor, 1/1. Kieffer lived in St. Benedict's Abbey and St. John's was attended from there.
1963 1969 St. John's Burlington

In 2002, Mr. David Waldorf came forward with an accusation that Kieffer had abused him when Waldorf came to him for counselling at age 15 during a family emergency.
KS 2/3. Pastor was Rev. Anthony Reilman, O.S.B. into 1968, and then Rev. Basil Finken, O.S.B. Third priest was Rev. Andrew Gottschalk, O.S.B., then Rev. Alan Uphaus, O.S.B., then Rev. Donald Redmond, O.S.B., then Rev. Jude Burbach, O.S.B., then Rev. Matthew Habiger, O.S.B. See our year-by-year list of St. John's priests. St. John's was already staffed by Benedictine priests in 1932, and remained so until 1990, when Very Rev. John M. Hyland, the Keokuk deam, was relocated from St. Joseph's in Fort Madison to St. John's in Burlington..
1969 1971 St. Charles Troy KS Pastor, 1/1.  
1971 1973 St. Ann's Effingham KS Pastor, 1/1.  
1973 1981 Sacred Heart Sabetha KS Pastor, 1/1.  
1973 1981 St. Augustine's Fidelity KS Pastor, 1/1. Attended from Sabetha.
1981 1982         Not indexed or listed in the 1982 Official Catholic Directory; in this same Directory year, a diocesan priest was appointed for the first time to St. John's in Burlington IA, as Rev. Donald Redmond's assistant. Redmond had been the sole priest at St. John's since 1978, with the departure of Rev. Florian Demmer. The 1978 Official Catholic Directory lists Demmer at St. John's; the 1979 doesn't index him at all; the 1980 lists him as back at St. Benedict's Abbey in Atchison KS.
1982 1990 St. Benedict's Abbey Atchison

KS   Died 2/15/90.

Source: Official Catholic Directory (New York: Kenedy and Sons, 1933-1991).

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 Kieffer's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory and in other sources with the one known allegation against Kieffer as it is reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report. Kieffer died on 2/15/90, over ten years before this allegation was made. We remind our readers that in the U.S. judicial system, a person is considered innocent until proven guilty.

A Note on Nomenclature: We use the term "assignment record," instead of the more common "service record," because "service" is not an appropriate word for the activities of an abusive priest. Dioceses are often less than forthcoming about the activities of retired priests, but when we can determine those activities, we list them in these assignment records, particularly if they involve ministry. Retired priests remain under obedience to their bishop or superior, and even the activities of laicized priests should be a concern to the diocese.

This assignment record was last updated on 10/27/04.