In Separate Lawsuits, Man and Woman Accuse Retired Priest of Abuse

By Kevin Murphy
Kansas City Star
October 10, 2003

A woman and man alleged in separate lawsuits Thursday that retired priest Francis E. McGlynn of Kansas City sexually abused them three decades ago at Independence's St. Mary's Church.

Teresa White and Francis Scheuring filed suits in Jackson County Circuit Court against McGlynn, 76, and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, which they said did nothing to stop his abuse.

White said she was abused while taking catechism classes from McGlynn when she was 17 and preparing to be married in the church. Scheuring said he was a young student at St. Mary's School when McGlynn abused him.

"Until I have this thing (lawsuit) in my hands, I have no official comment," McGlynn said Thursday. Later, after getting a copy of the lawsuit, he again said he had no comment.

In a press statement issued Thursday, diocese vicar general Patrick Rush said the diocese first learned of allegations against McGlynn in April 2000, when White came forward.

McGlynn retired from the diocese in 1992 but continued to serve at St. Luke Byzantine Church in Sugar Creek, Rush said. The parish is part of a church branch known as Eparchy of Parma, based in Ohio. Although the parish is outside the diocese structure, a diocese still has some authority over the priests.

In July 2002, after White met with a committee the diocese set up to explore abuse allegations, McGlynn was told he could no longer present himself as a priest, Rush said.

McGlynn was ordained in the diocese in 1954 and served at Missouri parishes in Kansas City, St. Joseph, Parkville, Marshfield, Savannah, Hamilton and Independence, the lawsuit says.

Thursday's lawsuits follow three suits filed last month by men who say that former Kansas City area priest Hugh Monahan sexually abused them as boys in the 1970s and 1980s. Monahan has not commented.

Like the previous suits, the lawsuit Thursday names the diocese, Rush and Bishop Raymond J. Boland as co-defendants, alleging that they knew about McGlynn's history of abuse, yet kept him on as a priest. It seeks unspecified damages.

White and Scheuring met with reporters on the courthouse steps after filing the lawsuits. Both of them fought back tears at times.

White, 48, of Higginsville, Mo., said she was attending St. Mary's in 1973 and 1974 because she was getting ready to marry a Catholic man.

The lawsuit said McGlynn "made sexual contact an implicit and explicit condition of plaintiff's ability to marry within the church."

White said that she didn't call police because "no one would believe me" and that she went through with the marriage without telling anyone what happened. McGlynn did not perform the ceremony.

In the rush of lawsuits against priests around the country, only about 15 percent to 20 percent of the plaintiffs are women, said David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.

But Clohessy said that women make up half of the network's membership and that abuse of women by the clergy is underreported.

"As a general rule, men tend to turn their anger and pain outward, to speak out publicly or press criminal charges," he said. "Women tend to deal with their pain more inwardly, to go to therapy and to talk to loved ones."

White said coming forward was unthinkable at the time and was still difficult 30 years later because women feel like "double victims" when they report sexual advances.

"It almost seems like the process you have to go through to prove your case in court makes you be a victim yet again," White said.

Scheuring, 42, of Independence, said McGlynn began physically and emotionally abusing him in 1971. Sexual abuse occurred in 1973 and 1974, Scheuring said.

The lawsuit says "McGlynn held himself out as a moral teacher, guide and religious authority, as well as a kind and caring surrogate father figure" for Scheuring.

Scheuring said he didn't comprehend the abuse and its meaning until 2001. He now attributes his emotional duress, suicide attempts and relationship problems to that abuse.

Scheuring contacted the diocese about McGlynn's alleged abuses in August 2002 and was offered an opportunity to meet with the sexual abuse response committee and the diocese's victims' advocate, Rush said.

Scheuring said he declined to meet with the committee. He questioned how "30 minutes would help 30 years of what happened" to him since the abuse.

Scheuring's parents, Vic and Ruth Scheuring, appeared with him at the news conference.


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