KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas released a new report Friday, naming more than 20 priests accused of sexual abuse.
The Archdiocese newspaper, The Leaven, lists 22 priests who the Archdiocese believes have substantiated claims of clergy sexual abuse with a minor.
The Archdiocese of KCK enlisted Chicago-based law firm Hush and Blackwell to look at over 1,080 files dating back to the 1940’s through today, to help determine what sexual abuse may have taken place in the diocese over the past 75 years.
The list of 22 names is the result of that review. Read the report and entire list of names here.
Some of them are known abusers. Other names are new. According to the list, none of the 22 men are currently ministering in the archdiocese.
Eleven have died; seven have been “laicized,” meaning they were removed from clerical service; one was “removed from ministry;” one was last known to be at a friary in Denver; and the status of two others are unknown.
Archbishop Joseph Naumann said in a column in The Leaven that it is difficult to “discern the truth” of an event from decades ago, especially when the accused is deceased and other people’s memories have faded.
“The list that we are providing today is accurate based on the information we possess at this moment,” Naumann wrote.
To some victims, the report brings anger not comfort. It’s difficult for Mike Foreman to read Naumann’s statement of apology.
“One of the names on this list is Finian Meis,” Foreman said. “And he also assaulted me.”
Foreman said he met Father Finian Meis when he was just 11 years old at Queen of the Holy Rosary Parish.
“The first time he sexually assaulted me, I told my mom and she was just blind,” Foreman said. “She took me back for more. The second session I just remember going back with a cake my mother baked for him and me, and the priest stood on the porch and watched my mother drive away.”
Those are things Foreman didn’t remember until he was almost 50 years old. It led to a lifetime of struggle and self-hatred explained when memories began flooding back.
He said, at Meis’s house where the alleged abuse took place, he remembered Meis handing him a pillow shaped like a baseball bat so Foreman could take his anger out on the priest after each attack.
“Finian Mies laid on the floor in a fetal position and had me beat him with this pillow,” Foreman said. “Well, I found out later that several of his victims reported the same thing.”
In December 2013, Foreman got a letter from Nauman, which began by apologizing for Foreman’s experience with Meis. The letter ended by the Archbishop writing, “We are unable to substantiate the credibility of your claims against Finian Meis.”
The church didn’t believe him.
His experience makes Nauman’s recent expression of regret and shame seem hollow to Foreman.
“He spent large amounts of money on legal fees for over three-and-a half very painful years using the statute of limitations against me,” Foreman said. “That is his assistance with healing? It just makes me sick.”
After getting nowhere with his pleas to the Archbishop, Foreman sued the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas. The case was dismissed because the statute of limitations on his sexual assault had passed. Foreman appealed and lost.
Lost his case and lost his faith — in the church and those who were supposed to protect him.
The 22 priests named in the report represent just 2 percent of the 1,080 case files examined.