Lincoln Couple Removes Child from Catholic School Amid Allegations, Diocese in Court
By Bayley Bischof
May 2, 2019
The Lincoln and Omaha diocese went before a district court judge pleading for more time to comply with an expansive subpoena of their history.
In the audience were Kyle and Lauren O’Donnell, a Lincoln couple raised catholic.
"I trusted them,” Kyle said.
They don’t, anymore. Kyle said even going to Sunday mass like he’s done his entire life is painful.
Lauren said while their faith in Christ remains strong, their faith in the church is crumbling, and they’re not going to shove it under the rug.
"We have a personal responsibility to make sure justice is served, that victims get the justice they deserve and people know the truth,” she said.
The truth, the Diocese say is impossible to release in the amount of time the Attorney General gave them.
Attorney General Doug Peterson ordered Nebraska churches to hand in decades worth of history regarding sexual assault, child abuse and misconduct on March 1, 2019. He gave the churches three days to comply.
The subpoenas came after Peterson asked the churches to voluntarily comply in September 2018.
An attorney with Peterson’s office asked the judge to dismiss the Diocese’s claims, saying they’ve had enough time.
The judge didn’t make a decision.
The O’Donnells, though, already have.
"If they had really contrite hearts, were really sorry for what they've done, they'd be opening doors, they would have said 'hey come in here and look at these documents,' they would have turned over everything immediately,” Lauren said.
Her response is personal. She was an alter server under Father John Buckson at a Catholic Church is Schuyler as a child. He was removed in 2002 for alleged sexual assault, but according to a list released by the Omaha Archdiocese, they had reports of his misconduct as early as 1994.
"To know that Elden Curtiss who confirmed me had known and he placed a child predator to be alone with me, to be alone with my brother, my sister, all my friends was upsetting, Lauren said.
This is far from their only connection to the 50 accused priests the diocese have listed.
“Every Diocese I’ve been a part of since I was child has had a priest removed,” she said.
Which is why the couple, who had originally enrolled their child at a Catholic school in Lincoln pulled her out as more allegations came to light.
"We would not leave our kid alone, no,” Kyle said. “I'm sure some priests are great, but when you don't remove the bad ones, no matter how nice your priest seems, there's no way to be confident he's not doing something bad behind closed doors."
The O'Donnell's said for the church to truly heal there has to be complete honesty.
The lawyer for the Lincoln Diocese wouldn't comment on the issue, only says they're going to continue to comply.