Overland Park priest announces allegations made against him. He says they are false

By Ian Cummings Nd Judy Thomas
Kansas City Star
March 3, 2019

Queen of the Holy Rosary Church, Overland Park. This Google Maps Street View image is from July 2016.

An Overland Park priest announced at Mass this weekend that an abuse allegation had once again been raised against him and that he denied the allegation.

The Rev. William Bruning made the announcement at Queen of the Holy Rosary Church, saying that a woman in her early 30s had accused Bruning of abusing her when she was a minor attending the Most Pure Heart of Mary School in Topeka. Bruning insisted the allegation was false.

In a written statement issued Sunday, the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas said the woman had raised the allegation twice before, in 2015 and in 2018. Each time, the statement said, a review board at the archdiocese found the allegation could not be substantiated.

Bruning “is a priest in good standing,” the archdiocese said.

According to the statement, the archdiocese first learned of the allegation, which it said was based on recovered memories, in June 2015. The archdiocese said it notified law enforcement.

Church officials also conducted their own investigation. At the time, Bruning was residing at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Kansas City, Kan., and was asked by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann to “refrain from public ministry pending the outcome of the investigation” and a review by the archdiocese.

After examining the case, the archdiocese’s Independent Review Board concluded it could not substantiate a claim against Bruning and recommended he be restored to active ministry, according to the statement.

The woman who made the allegation was informed of the decision, the archdiocese said.

In October 2018, the woman notified church officials that she had recovered additional memories about the same incident she reported three years earlier, according to the archdiocese.

Church officials again notified law enforcement and the archdiocese re-investigated the allegation, the statement said. The archdiocese’s review board once more concluded the allegation could not be substantiated, saying the claim was “not credible” while Bruning’s denial “was credible.”

The archdiocese again concluded Bruning was suitable for public ministry and informed the woman who made the allegation.

When the woman told the archdiocese last month that she was not satisfied with that conclusion, Naumann and Bruning agreed to share the information with church members, the statement said.

Bruning continues as pastor at Queen of the Holy Rosary Parish.

The archdiocese said it takes such allegations “very seriously” and encouraged anyone with information about inappropriate conduct by any priest or other church employee or volunteer to call its confidential report line at 913-647-3051.

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