Kbi Following 74 Leads in Ongoing Kansas Clergy Abuse Inquiry

By Tim Carpenter
Daily Globe
July 24, 2019

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation’s public appeal for people to step forward with allegations of sexual misconduct among members of the Catholic clergy prompted 74 investigations in 33 Kansas counties, officials said Tuesday.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt requested in November that the KBI initiate an investigation of victimization by members of the clergy, church employees and volunteers or any others in positions of authority within the four Catholic dioceses in Kansas.

Since the KBI went public in February, the agency received 119 reports from purported victims regarding sexual abuse by clergy members. More than half of those reports led to initiation of investigations by KBI agents assigned to a task force.

Chuck Weber, executive director of the Kansas Catholic Conference, said the organization encouraged the KBI to look into complaints of abuse. The dioceses in Kansas have an internal reporting system for alleged abuse, he said, but people uneasy about that system were directed to call law enforcement directly.

“The Catholic churches, all four dioceses, we welcome any and all investigations,” said Weber, a former state legislator. “We’ve been open to inquiries.”

Wichita resident Janet Patterson, who had a son who died by suicide in 1999 after abuse by a priest, said the KBI investigation was essential to sort out past crimes. She equated abuse at the hands of religious leaders to a “third-degree burn to the soul.”








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