Kc Nun Speaks out on Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal

November 8, 2011

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Using the Catholic chancery in Kansas City as a backdrop, a nun said it was time for her to speak out against the systems in her own church that she claims continue to keep children at risk of sexual abuse.

"I served as victims' advocate in this diocese and have heard firsthand the stories of pretty close to 40 victims of clergy sexual abuse," Sister Jeanne Christensen said

KMBC's Peggy Breit reported that Sister Jeanne Christensen was the diocesan victims' advocate until 2004. Christensen said she joined with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests because silence is not an option.

"If we remain silent, these things could continue to be covered up, they could continue to be ignored, and it is our responsibility, all of us, to protect the children so that this does not continue to happen," Christensen said.

Christensen said she knows nothing about the pornography case against the Rev. Shawn Ratigan. But said that it appears the procedures in place were not followed.

She added Bishop Robert Finn needs to be held accountable.

"I hope that he is held accountable, again because children were placed at risk," Christensen said.

Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker filed misdemeanor charges last month against Finn for failing to report in connection with the Ratigan case. The bishop denies any wrongdoing.

SNAP announced that a lawsuit was filed Tuesday against the Rev. Michael Tierney for alleged abuse decades of a boy from ages 10 through 12. Tierney is the former pastor for Christ the King Church. The lawsuit claims Tierney's superior, Monsignor Thomas O'Brien, was involved in abhorrent behavior.

"It boggles the mind the level of depravity this goes to. These men are dangerous. They need to be in prison so kids are safe," said Barbara Dorris of SNAP.

The Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese released the following statement:

"The Independent Review Board has received credible reports alleging sexual misconduct with minors by Father Michael Tierney in the early 1970s and 1980s. One individual making a complaint recently met with the Review Board, a panel of eight laypersons -- including clinical psychologists, law enforcement personnel, and a member of the clergy -- who advise Bishop Finn on matters of clerical misconduct.

"After hearing this report and meeting with Father Tierney, board members also considered information concerning two other individuals. Each declined to meet with the Review Board but made similar claims of misconduct by Father Tierney. One of these individuals originally reported wrestling with Father Tierney, but in a 2010 lawsuit claimed that he had been groped.

"The board has recommended that Bishop Finn remove Father Tierney as pastor of Christ the King Parish and from all other public ministry. Father Tierney continues to deny these allegations, but has cooperated fully in this process. Bishop Finn accepted and implemented the board’s recommendation, effective June 2, 2011."


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