Judge Dismisses Some Charges in Tierney Sex Abuse Case

July 19, 2011

A Jackson County Judge has dismissed some of the most serious charges against a Kansas City priest who was accused of sexual misconduct 40 years ago.

Judge Ann Mesle has dismissed accusations that Father Michael Tierney and the Kansas City Catholic Diocese conspired to hide Tierney’s misconduct from the early 1970’s.

Charges that Tierney’s action inflicted emotional distress on the victim were also dismissed.

The case stems from a 1971 incident. It also involves the complex legal elements of repressed memory that are not yet settled.

“While the 40 plus year delay in the alleged recovery of the plaintiff’s memory is troubling,” wrote Judge Mesle, “ the court believes this determination is better suited for a Summary Judgment or jury question.”

Judge Mesle asked the lawyers for the plaintiff to provide more information on exactly when he recovered his repressed memories.

The plaintiff is identified only as John Doe, B.P.

The suit said in 1971, when Doe was 13, he was asked by Tierney to come to Tierney’s mother’s house and help Tierney move furniture. During the event, Doe claims Tierney tackled him to the ground and rubbed his private parts.

Doe claims he repressed the memory of the incident until 2008. He filed a suit against Tierney and the diocese in 2009.

Judge Mesle denied Tierney’s request to dismiss several other counts, including the charges of fraud and misrepresentation against Tienry.

Tierney was removed from his church earlier this year after a recommendation by the Diocese’s citizen review panel.

The Kansas City Diocese is embroiled in a controversy over priest sexual abuse.

Another priest, Father Shawn Ratigan, is in jail, accused of child pornography.

Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn has made several moves this summer to shore up the diocese’s standards for reporting sexual-abuse-by-priests problems. Some Kansas City, Mo., Diocese Catholics remain unhappy and have asked Finn to resign.


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