The names of five Roman Catholic priests thought to have molested children in other states — though they weren't on the list the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas released Jan. 25 identifying 22 priests it concluded had sexually abused children — were made public Wednesday in Topeka by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
Four of the five priests on the list released by Kansas City SNAP leader Jim McConnell are deceased. They include the Rev. Anthony Palmese, whom an obituary provided by SNAP indicated held assignments that included serving at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Topeka.
The archdiocese confirmed Wednesday that two of the priests had served there but said it had no record of sexual allegations against either during their time there.
The archdiocese indicated it had no record of the other three, including Palmese, having been assigned there and had confirmed that with Husch Blackwell, the law firm hired to independently review all its files.
”It is possible that one or more of these individuals worked, undertook studies or lived in the area at some time in the past," said Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann. "But if they did, we were not aware of it because the records, going back some 75 years, did not show it."
That illustrated one challenge the archdiocese faced in preparing the list released Jan. 25, Naumann said.
“It is also one of the reasons that we are appealing now to anyone who has been the victim of sexual abuse as a minor by a priest of our archdiocese — or by any priest, deacon, employee or volunteer working in our archdiocese — to come forward," he said.
McConnell and SNAP supporter Larry Davis gave out a news release containing the five names while meeting with journalists near St. Matthew's Catholic Church, 2700 S.E. Virginia Ave., where the list released Jan. 25 said the Rev. Martin Juarez was accused of committing child molestation in the 1980s. Juarez was later laicized.
McConnell asked the archdiocese to explain why the five priests were not on the list; add their names and other identifying information to the list; and update it to contain the identities of all Catholic lay workers, nuns, brothers, seminarians, deacons, priests and bishops who have sexually abused children or adults.
SNAP indicated the one former cleric among the five thought to still be living was the Rev. Roger Sinclair, who resigned from the priesthood in 2005.
The organization provided a court document indicating Sinclair was dismissed from Topeka State Hospital after he deceitfully gained access in 1991 to a locked unit and twice tried unsuccessfully to check out teen-age boys to go see a movie. The document said Sinclair was exposed as a “predator priest” last August in a Pennsylvania grand jury report about clergy sex crimes and cover ups in that state.
SNAP identified the four deceased priests thought to have molested children in other states as:
• Palmese, a member of the Order of Augustinian Recollects who is listed on the Omaha Archdiocese's website as having “substantiated allegations" of child sexual misconduct or abuse. He died in 2012.
• The Rev. Placidus Kieffer, a Benedictine whose name is on the Davenport, Iowa, diocese's list of "credibly accused abusers." Naumann said the archdiocese's records show Kieffer served in the Kansas communities of Troy, Fidelity, Effingham, Atchison, Doniphan, Kelly and Sabetha. He died in 1990.
• The Rev. John (Fidelis) Forrester, a Benedictine whose name is on lists of the "credibly accused" maintained by the Seattle and Davenport, Iowa, dioceses. Naumann confirmed his archdiocese's records show Forrester served at Atchison and Seneca. He died in 2002.
• The Rev. Norman Rogge, a Jesuit whose name is on the Mobile, Ala., diocese's list of "credibly accused" abusers. McConnell said Rogge served at sites that included St. Mary’s College in St. Marys. He died in 2009.
McConnell and Davis said they planned to go door-to-door Wednesday in the area of St. Matthew's Church handing out fliers encouraging people to come forward if they have "seen, suspected or suffered crimes” committed by Catholic clerics or laity.
Davis carried a sign containing the last names of the five priests identified in Wednesday's news release as well as that of the Rev. Eugene Maio, a Jesuit who was accused in a lawsuit of sexually abusing one person at Marymount High School in Los Angeles.
Records show Maio, who is thought to have left the priesthood but to remain living, trained as a student priest from 1960 to 1961 at St. Mary's College at St. Marys. Maio's name wasn't on Wednesday's news release. The archdiocese indicated it had no record of his having served there.