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Kansas City diocese names priests in ‘the dreadful scourge of sexual abuse of minors’

By Judy L. Thomas

Saying that “the dreadful scourge of sexual abuse of minors has wounded our entire family of faith,” Bishop James V. Johnston Jr. of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph on Friday released a list of 24 priests he said have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

“The release of these names cannot change the past,” Johnston said in a statement. “It is merely a step forward in hope, but a necessary step. All sin is terrible, but the sins of clerics who betray the sacred trust to care for little ones is especially egregious. Jesus himself singled out this betrayal as particularly wicked in the eyes of God. The anger at these sins is fully justified.”

Of the 24 priests, 19 were priests of the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese, three worked in the diocese but are now under the jurisdiction of other dioceses and two served in the diocese but belonged to religious orders. Thirteen of the diocesan priests are deceased, two have been permanently removed from ministry, and four have been laicized, or removed from the clerical state.

One of those who was laicized — Shawn Ratigan — is serving time in federal prison for child pornography.

“With the one significant exception of former Father Shawn Ratigan, the substantiated allegations were found to have occurred prior to 1990,” Johnston said.

Johnston said the list, which covers the period from 1956 to the present, has been shared with the Missouri attorney general. Most of the priests have had multiple allegations.

The other diocesan priests named are James Ahern, Robert Cameron, Robert Deming, James Ford, John Giacopelli, Sylvester Hoppe, Joseph Jakubowski, Francis McGlynn, Thomas O’Brien, John Tulipana, Thomas Ward, Thomas Waterman and Jerry Wegenek, who are all deceased; Michael Brewer and Michael Tierney, who have been permanently removed from ministry; and Hugh Monahan, Thomas Reardon and Stephen Wise, who have been laicized.

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