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Kansas City-St. Joseph Clergy Sexual Abuse Attorneys

Kansas City-St. Joseph DioceseMany Roman Catholics are drawn to the Church due to its spiritual guidance, offers of forgiveness, and strong family values. Most parishioners are baptized in the faith just after birth and confirm their commitment to the Church at their “confirmation” at eight or nine years of age. Unfortunately, some clergy members and religious leaders use the Church’s power of authority to control parishioners through sexual molestation, sodomy, and rape.

In Missouri, nearly 200 predatory priests have faced accusations of sexual assault involving innocent children and vulnerable adults. Many of these allegations involve child sex abuse from decades ago. While the Church and law enforcement have held some clergy molesters accountable, most predatory priests are allowed to remain active in their ministry with access to young children.

Kansas City-St. Joseph Dioceses Sexual Abuse Attorney

The compassionate attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC believe that every sexual abuse survivor deserves to be heard. Our team of legal experts has served as advocates for sexual assault victims in dioceses statewide. With our years of experience, we follow federal and Missouri state laws to take immediate action when helping victims seek justice.

After listening to your horrific story of sexual abuse,  a clergy abuse lawyer can provide immediate legal advice and show you different options on how to resolve your case successfully. We have handled sexual abuse cases involving the Roman Catholic Church, youth organizations, religious institutions, universities, private and public schools, and healthcare providers.

Some of the cases we have handled involve clergy rape, sexual assault, sodomy, child pornography, fondling, and non-consensual oral sex with priests of most religious orders. We will fight back against the Roman Catholic Church on your behalf to ensure you are protected throughout the settlement process. Contact us now at (888) 424-5757, so we can begin working on your case today.

Religious Leaders Remain Silent on Priests Accused of Rape

In May 2020, Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Binzer resigned from his position for his failure to report to his superiors about a Reverend facing charges of sexually assaulting a child. At the time of his resignation, Binzer served as the Cincinnati Diocese Bishop. Before he resigned from his position, Church officials had already removed the Bishop as a Priest Personnel Director because he “failed to bring past concerns about Father Geoffrey Drew’s conduct to the attention of Archbishop Dennis Schnurr.”

However, even though Binzer was released from his post as the Priest Personnel Director and resigned from his position as Auxiliary Bishop, the Roman Catholic Church allowed him to remain in “active ministry” for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

New Names Added to the List

In February 2020, local law enforcement arrested seventy-six-year-old Reverend Frederick Lutz, a retired priest. The Reverend faced multiple counts of child sexual molestation, forced sodomy, and two counts of statutory sodomy.

The arrest of Father Lutz was a part of a thirteen-month investigation into a dozen priests facing allegations of sexual misconduct. The charging documents indicate that Reverend Lutz molested an underage child in 2000 while he was assigned to serve parishioners at the Advance, MO St. Joseph Parish.

Evidence shows that the priest called the teenager into the St. Joseph Parish rectory while he was watching pornography and drinking alcohol, forcing the boy to perform sexual acts. The sexual abuse survivor told his father immediately what had occurred. The victim’s father then told a parish teacher about Lutz.

The Reverend spoke with a teacher and allegedly told him that he and his boyfriend had recently broken up. Allegedly, the boyfriend was living at the Church rectory at the time of their relationship. During the investigation, it was revealed that Lutz faced accusations years before in an incident that happened in 1972.

At that time, another seventeen-year-old working in Cape Girardeau on a summer job at St. Mary’s Catholic Parish was allegedly sexually assaulted. The child woke up after drinking alcohol the night before with the priest touching him. After Lutz’s arrest, the court set his cash-only bond at $125,000.

In September 2019, the Attorney General for the State of Missouri referred a dozen religious leaders for prosecution on charges of suspected sexual assault. A 329-page report details evidence found in the investigation involving over 2000 religious leaders who had served parishes throughout the state of Missouri for nearly seven decades. The investigators looked into evidence involving bishops, priests, religious women, seminarians, and deacons in the state’s four dioceses.

The state’s inquiry identified 163 cases of credible allegations of sexual misconduct. The sexual abuse of minors occurred at the hands of Catholic diocesan deacons and priests. Less than half of the named priests and deacons are still alive. The statute of limitations has expired on forty-six of the remaining cases.

The Devastating Scars of Sexual Abuse

Sexual assault among clergy members is abhorrent and repugnant. The inappropriate actions of a priest or other religious leader can leave the victim with lifelong scars. Often, severe consequences can compromise the victim’s health for decades.

Sexual abuse of an innocent victim by a Roman Catholic priest’s betrays the trust developed between church leaders and parishioners. Many sexual abuse survivors must continually deal with the emotional scars that often change their behaviors. Some of the indicators of child sex abuse include:

  • Toddlers, pre-teens, and teenagers wetting the bed
  • The fear of being around specific individuals
  • Fear of being alone, fear of the dark and nightmares
  • Conspicuous displays of withdrawal or insecurity
  • Unexplained fear or worry over apparently nothing
  • Never wanting to take off their clothes when bathing or changing
  • Talking nonstop about sexual activity
  • Drawing pictures or simulating sexual activity
  • Unexplained changes in their eating habits including difficulty in swallowing, a decreased appetite, or not wanting to eat

Victims who were sexually abused during their childhood years might deal with lasting depression and anxiety. The lives of some sexual assault survivors are affected by post-traumatic stress disorder behaviors, sex addiction, thoughts of suicide, extreme alcoholism, excessive smoking, or other serious health condition.

Kansas City-St. Joseph Pays Sexual Abuse Victims

In recent years, Pope Francis, the Vatican, and the Roman Catholic Church have taken an alternate view on how to handle predatory priests among the congregation. Before, child sex abuse among clergy members was handled at the local level, where the Bishop took steps to verify any allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct among priests.

In October 2014, the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese agreed to a negotiated $9.95 million financial settlement to resolve sexual abuse claims involving the Diocese’s priests. The financial agreement settled more than two dozen pending claims that had been filed by sexual abuse survivors between 2010 and 2014. Some of the allegations of sexual misconduct happened over two decades ago by abusive priests.

Most of the settlement funds were paid by insurance policy coverage for the Diocese. The remainder was paid by the Roman Catholic Church. This settlement was not the only financial agreement for sexual misconduct in Missouri that had been filed in recent years.

In 2008, the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph agreed to a $10 million negotiated settlement to resolve cases involving forty-seven plaintiffs. The victims stated that many priests had sexually abused them repeatedly when the young victims were children.

In one case, in 2012, a religious leader pled guilty on charges of producing child pornography. At that time, the court convicted Bishop Robert Flynn of the Diocese for his failure to alert proper authorities to the massive amount of child pornography images found on the Reverend’s computer.

Hiring a Roman Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph Sexual Abuse Attorney

In recent years, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has obtained over $250 million in financial compensation on behalf of our clients. We have obtained monetary recovery for victims of sexual abuse through trial awards and negotiated settlements. Let us help your family too.

Are you the victim of child sex abuse by a priest, bishop, or another clergy member? If so, we can help. Contact our Missouri attorneys today (888) 424-5757 to discuss your new pathways to healing. Our law firm will listen intently to your horrific story during a free initial consultation in a confidential setting. All information you share with our law office will remain confidential.

Jonathan Rosenfeld handles all cases of clergy sexual abuse through contingency fee agreements. This arrangement provides immediate legal action without the need to pay an upfront fee. We receive payments for our services only after we have secured financial compensation on your behalf through an award or settlement.

Time is of the essence. All the necessary paperwork and documentation must be filed in the appropriate county courthouse before the state statute of limitations expires. Our legal team of sexual assault attorneys accepts all clergy sexual abuse cases where the priest, brother, or other religious leader is still in “active ministry,” has been laicized (removed from the Church), is on administrative leave, has retired from the priesthood, or is deceased.

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