Priest Relieved of Duties
Allegations stem from time spent at Burlington Catholic church

By Dale Alison
The Hawk Eye
April 27, 2002

A northeast Kansas priest has been relieved of his pastoral duties as a result of allegations he sexually abused a boy while serving at St. John's Catholic Church in the 1970s.

The Rev. Donald Redmond, a Benedictine monk when he served St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Burlington, was removed March 1 from a parish in Sabetha, Kan., and was placed in an abbey.

The Kansas City Diocese told The Associated Press it has received complaints against other priests in its jurisdiction, but it is too early in the investigation to reveal other details.

Revelations regarding Redmond surfaced after Monsignor John Hyland, pastor at St. John's and St. Paul's Catholic churches, Burlington, read a statement in early February acknowledging that another accusation of priestly misconduct had been made against a former St. John's priest, now dead.

A former parishioner stepped forward and identified Redmond.

Hyland said Saturday that the report was forwarded to Abbott Barnabas Senecal at St. Benedict's Abbey in Atchison, Kan., which provided priests to St. John's between 1890 and 1990, and Redmond was removed from active ministry.

"We were informed Father Redmond will not be assigned to parish ministry now or in the future," Hyland said.

Hyland said the complainant, who no longer attends St. John's, was told of the abbey's action and believed it was handled satisfactorily.

"Again, we are deeply saddened by this and support the abbot's removing Father Redmond," Hyland said.

He told parishioners of the developments at masses Saturday and will do so again during services today.

"We are making this announcement in the parish so that we can tend to the needs of those who may have been injured. We pray for healing in our church and count heavily on the Lord to strengthen us in the days ahead."

Hyland added that the church remains available "to tend to any pastoral needs of anyone who may have been hurt."

He acknowledged that if Redmond abused one parishioner, others may have been molested.

"People need to know it's been done. It's a crime, it needs to be reported," he said.

Hyland added that as Catholic leaders sort out events of the last week when U.S. cardinals met with the pope to discuss sexual abuse by priests, he was confident there will be a "zero tolerance" policy adopted for clergymen who have molested children.

The danger, he said, is people who want to exact revenge on innocent pastoral or educational personnel 20 years ago.

Hyland said Redmond served in Burlington at three different times, from 1958 to 1963; 1965 to 1967; and 1974 to 1985.


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