Catholic Priest Removed from Duties over Allegations Dating to 1970s

By Judy L. Thomas
Kansas City Star
July 5, 2011

A religious order based in Liberty has removed a priest from his duties after receiving what it says are credible allegations of sexual improprieties with two minors in the mid-1970s.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the Missionaries of the Precious Blood said that the Rev. James Urbanic is no longer serving in public ministry.

According to the statement, Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and the Rev. Joseph Nassal, provincial director of the Kansas City Province of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, received two reports in June alleging sexual abuse by Urbanic. Both individuals said that the incidents occurred in the 1970s when Urbanic served as associate pastor of St. Francis Xavier Church in St. Joseph.

Nassal reported the allegations on June 29 to the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese's review board, which handles sexual abuse allegations against priests, the statement said.

"Following their review, the board found the allegations to be credible and recommended that Father Urbanic no longer serve in public ministry," the statement said. "The order is unaware of any other allegations concerning Father Urbanic."

Urbanic has cooperated fully in the investigation, the religious order said, and acknowledged in a statement to his religious community that "early in my priesthood I acted inappropriately."

"There is no doubt that over the past 35 years each of these individuals has carried a burden," the order said in its statement. "The Missionaries of the Precious Blood share their sorrow. At their request, their right to privacy will be respected."

The Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese said in a statement late Tuesday that in addition to St. Francis Xavier Church in St. Joseph, Urbanic has served as associate pastor of St. James Catholic Church in Liberty and Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Warrensburg.

Finn said the diocese was "committed to reaching out to the victims of sexual misconduct as well as to parishioners."

"Everyone suffers in these situations, and as church we must provide a compassionate, consistent, truthful and fair response to every person affected," he said.

To reach Judy L. Thomas, call 816-234-4334 or send email to


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