Report released on sex abuse allegations in Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese

KANSAS CITY, Mo - A new report from the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph provides more details on alleged abuse cases in the Kansas City area.

Jenifer Valenti, a former Jackson County assistant prosecuting attorney, was appointed as an independent ombudsman by Bishop Robert Finn to investigate cases of abuse within the church.

The report does not specifically name any alleged abusers, but it does disclose the amount and types of cases that have arrived on Valenti's desk in the last year.


Valenti says there are three major types of cases: sex abuse cases, boundary cases and referrals. Boundary cases involve instances that may not be criminal but involve an adult crossing a boundary like allowing a child to sit on their lap or giving gifts to a child.

Referrals involve cases that don't involve church personnel but do require someone to take action. For example, if they discover a child is being abused at home.

This year, she received 79 reports. Twenty of those cases involved sexual abuse -- seven of which were substantiated. Valenti says a majority of the cases brought to her attention were decades old.

In all, the diocese received the names of 72 suspected abusers, which included 42 church, clergy and religious order personnel.

Valenti hopes publishing these numbers will be one of many steps to protect children.

"This is a scandal, and in order to address it, and in order to deal with it, we really need to know what we are dealing with," she said. "So I hope that other mothers and fathers and grandparents and aunts and uncles in the diocese will feel comfort knowing what exactly is happening."

Meanwhile, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests released a statement saying they are upset the Diocese is not releasing names.

"Disclosing numbers of predators helps no one. Disclosing the names and whereabouts of predators is what's needed," they said.

The report also does not disclose how many of these cases were turned over to law enforcement. Valenti told us she hopes to include that information in future reports.

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