Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas today announced that Bishop John Brungardt will be resuming his duties as the Bishop of the Diocese of Dodge City. Bishop Brungardt does so after a 14 month period during which he stepped aside after an allegation of sexual abuse was made against him. Bishop Brungardt voluntarily withdrew from public ministry to facilitate the investigation of the allegation. During that period, the allegation was fully investigated by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI), following which civil authorities declined prosecution.
Following the KBI investigation, Church authorities conducted their own separate investigation of the allegation. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican has now determined that the allegation against Bishop Brungardt is not supported by the evidence and the case against him has been dismissed.
Bishop Brungardt has vigorously denied the allegation throughout, and he fully cooperated with both the civil and Church investigations. Throughout this entire 14 month period, Bishop Brungardt has been entitled to the presumption of innocence under both civil and Church law.
During Bishop Brungardt’s voluntary absence, Bishop Gerald Vincke of Salina served as the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Dodge City. Bishop Brungardt has expressed his gratitude to Bishop Vincke for his many months of service to the faithful of the Diocese.
Now that Bishop Brungardt will be taking up his duties again, he has also expressed his appreciation for the thoroughness of both investigations and his eagerness to resume public ministry, “serving Almighty God and the good people of the Catholic Diocese of Dodge City.” At the same time, Bishop Brungardt urges everyone “to pray for and listen to all victims of sexual abuse.”