A civil suit was filed this week alleging that The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph covered up sex abuse of minors involving two priests. The suit claims that the diocese knew of the abuse and still allowed the priests access to sexually abuse vulnerable children.
“No one can wish this continuing crisis away,” said David Clohessy, former executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, “It takes courageous action to expose and remove sick clerics. We applaud these two brave victims and hope others in pain will keep stepping forward.”
The diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph has not commented on this matter.
One of the priests that is named in the suit, although now deceased, is on the diocese’s list of those who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor. The other priest was placed on leave in 2018.
The diocese and the Rev. Darvin Salazar are named as defendants in the suit. The suit alleges that the plaintiff was sexually assaulted in the rectory at Holy Cross Catholic Church in northeast Kansas City by Salazar.
Salazar was a priest in Kansas City at Sacred Heart and Holy Cross parishes when the alleged abuse occurred.
The lawsuit says the plaintiff served as an altar boy and Salazar was his priest and mentor when he attended religious-affiliated training and school.
The lawsuit alleges, that the plaintiff was asked to come to Holy Cross parish in July 2018, where Salazar had been assigned.
“Defendant enticed Plaintiff to the rectory by representing he was providing spiritual counseling, comfort, mentor and advice to plaintiff,” the lawsuit claims. “When Plaintiff arrived at the Parish, Defendant Salazar plied him with alcohol and began to attempt to seduce the student. Later that night, Fr. Salazar overpowered plaintiff and forcibly sexually molested, assaulted and raped the student in the rectory of Holy Cross Church.”
Salazar “locked the door to Plaintiff’s room, took his cell phone and prevented Plaintiff from leaving the premises of Holy Cross Church and Parish before, during and after the sexual assault of Plaintiff,” the lawsuit alleges.
The suit also claims that the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese had received reports from at least five other credible sources about Salazar’s “inappropriate and illegal sexual predation” and yet did not remove him from his position until after he committed sexual crimes against the victim.