Missouri Man Sues Kc Priest and Diocese for Alleged Sexual Abuse

By Mark Morris
Kansas City Star
October 1, 2010

A Missouri man who said he repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse for 37 years has sued a Kansas City priest and the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Jackson County Circuit Court, alleges that the Rev. Michael Tierney, 66, abused the Missourian when he was 13 while the two were moving items at the home of the priest’s mother.

In a news release announcing the suit, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests said the alleged abuse took place in 1971 and the purported victim, now in his 50s, lives in Missouri.

A lawyer representing Tierney said his client had done nothing wrong.

“He denies all the allegations and has no memory of that,” said Brian Madden.

According to the lawsuit, the boy told Tierney that boys at St. Elizabeth Parish had a nickname for the priest — “Father Pumpkinhead.”

“Father Tierney rushed the boy, tackling him and holding him down while he forcibly and against the boy’s will touched and fondled the boy, rubbing all over his body, including his private areas,” the lawsuit said. “(The boy) repressed all memory of these events until approximately 2008.”

The suit alleges that the plaintiff had suffered because of the abuse, including having suicidal thoughts, panic attacks and anxiety.

In a written statement, a diocese spokeswoman said the plaintiff contacted the church anonymously, through a third party, in 2008. The diocese invited the individual to meet to discuss the complaint, “which was not described as sexual in nature,” according to the statement. The person declined.

The church also interviewed Tierney, who denied any sexual misconduct against that individual or any other minor, the statement said. And no other allegation of sexual misconduct has been made against Tierney, the diocese said.

“He will continue to serve as pastor of Christ the King Parish, and he and the diocese will defend the lawsuit vigorously,” the statement said.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.