The Catholic Diocese of Wichita says an independent audit has substantiated sexual abuse allegations involving minors against nine priests.
The diocese released the report today following a review of more than 1,300 files by the Wichita law firm Fleeson Gooing. Many dioceses in the state and around the country have issued similar reports. Of the nine priests involved, six died after being removed from the ministry. The other three were removed in the 1990s. Seven of the nine were ordained in the 1950s or earlier.
The diocese said it also confirmed cases involving six priests who were not part of the diocese but worked there for a period of time. Those priests showed up on sexual abuse reports put together by other dioceses. Five of the six are dead.
The Wichita diocese covers 25 counties in south-central and southeast Kansas. It includes 90 parishes and about 120,000 people.
The priests worked in parishes in Wichita and at churches in the area. They also worked at other institutions with relationships to the diocese, such as high schools, Newman centers on college campuses and hospitals.
The diocese said in a news release that releasing the names is part of a plan to “keep children safe, help victims/survivors of abuse heal, and regain trust and confidence from our communities.”
“First and foremost, to the survivor victims and to their families, I express my most sincere and deepest apologies for the suffering you may have experienced due to these criminal, sinful and horrific acts by priests of this diocese,” Wichita Bishop Carl Kemme said in a statement.
“I pray that God will give you the healing and peace that only God can provide. I ask that our community of faith remember you in prayer.”
The diocese says the cases will be given to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, which is conducting an investigation of Catholic priests.
More information on the priests named – including date of ordination and assignment history – is available on the diocese’s website.
Tom Shine is director of news and public affairs at KMUW. Follow him on Twitter @thomaspshine.