We are a community committed to preventing abuse. Our policies and programs prioritize safety of children and the vulnerable.
We care about survivors of abuse.
Victim Care Advocate: (913) 298-9244
Rev. Francis “Lery” Wendling, OFM, a member of the Franciscan Friars Province of St. John the Baptist (Ohio) who died in 2017, has been the subject of two substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas and the Franciscan Province. Father Wendling’s name will be added to the archdiocesan list of substantiated allegations which can be found at: Substantiated Clergy Offenders – Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas (archkck.org).
Ordained to the priesthood on June 14, 1962, Father Wendling served in a number of assignments throughout the United States. Father Wendling served in the Archdiocese from 1978 to 1983 at Sacred Heart Parish, Emporia, as the parochial vicar. In addition to that assignment Father Wendling administered multiple sacraments, offered Masses and participated in events at his home parish of St. Joseph, Olpe. The Archdiocese Victim Care Advocate, Amy Stork, stands ready to support anyone who may have been harmed by Fr. Wendling. Please text or call (913) 298-9244.
The Archdiocese has received allegations of sexual abuse of a minor accusing former Bishop Miege High School coach, teacher and counselor William (Bill) Van Hecke. Van Hecke was hired in the fall of 1971 as an English teacher. In 1979, he began working as a school counselor. In these years, Van Hecke also held numerous coaching positions. Van Hecke resigned in 1999 and pled guilty in March 2002 of a crime related to conduct when he was employed at Bishop Miege. Recently, the Archdiocese has become aware of and investigated two additional credible allegations accusing Van Hecke of sexual abuse of a minor. These allegations stem from the time frame in which Van Hecke was employed at Bishop Miege. Van Hecke has not served as an employee of Bishop Miege since his conviction.
The purpose of this announcement is to encourage anyone who may have been harmed by Van Hecke while he was employed by Bishop Miege to contact the authorities and then the Archdiocese Confidential Report Line at 913-647-3051. When addressing allegations of abuse, the Archdiocese employs restorative principles, which is a survivor-led approach.
The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas takes all allegations of misconduct by church personnel very seriously and works to respond to survivors’ needs with urgency, respect and compassion. We encourage anyone with knowledge about any misconduct by a church volunteer, employee, religious or clergy member — regardless of when the abuse may have occurred — to contact civil authorities first, and then make a report to our confidential report line at 913-647-3051 or online at www.archkck.org/reportabuse. We care about survivors of abuse. Victim Care Advocate (913) 298-9244
Press Release — Bishop John Brungardt
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.”
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas today announced that Father John Pilcher will resume his duties as pastor of Mater Dei Parish in Topeka immediately. Father Pilcher does so after a seven-month period during which he stepped away from his duties after an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor was made against him. Father Pilcher was on a leave of absence 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). The Archdiocese has been informed that civil authorities have declined prosecution.
Per archdiocesan policy, the archdiocesan lay investigator also conducted a separate investigation of the allegation. Her findings were reviewed by the archdiocesan Independent Review Board (IRB) which then made its recommendation regarding the matter to Archbishop Naumann. Father Pilcher, who vigorously denies the allegation, has fully cooperated with both the civil and archdiocesan investigations. Following the internal review process and taking into account all the information available, Archbishop Naumann has determined that Father Pilcher is suitable to return to ministry. Archbishop Naumann makes this decision committed to the bedrock principle that a person should be afforded the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Archbishop Naumann has full confidence in Father Pilcher.
Father Pilcher is eager to resume public ministry, serving Mater Dei Parish and the Topeka community. The Archdiocese asks for continued prayers for all involved in this matter, and would also like to thank the dedicated parish and school staff, Father John Torrez, who has served as the parochial administrator of Mater Dei Parish, Fathers Joseph Chontos and Karl Good, who provided sacramental assistance and pastoral ministry, Deacons Robert Ortiz and Christopher Seago for their pastoral ministry, and the faithful parishioners who have offered their prayers for all parties in this difficult matter.
The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas takes all allegations of misconduct by church personnel very seriously and works to respond to survivors’ needs with urgency, respect and compassion. We encourage anyone with knowledge about any misconduct by any church volunteer, employee, religious or clergy member to contact civil authorities first, and then make a report to our confidential report line at 913-647-3051 or online at www.archkck.org/reportabuse.
With deep sorrow for the suffering of victims and survivors of abuse, the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas (“Archdiocese”) announces that William Haegelin, a priest who was removed from ministry in 2002 and laicized in 2004, has been the subject of a substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor. Mr. Haegelin’s name had been listed among the Archdiocese’s Substantiated Clergy Offenders under the category “Previously Publicized Allegations Not Able to Be Substantiated” but is now listed under the category “Substantiated Allegations of Clergy Sexual Abuse of a Minor.” The list may be found at www.archkck.org.
William Haegelin was the subject of an investigation in 2002 that led to an inaccurate determination and announcement that he did not sexually abuse a minor. The Archdiocese is particularly grateful for this survivor’s courage and strength in coming forward to challenge the decision to categorize Mr. Haegelin’s allegation as not able to be substantiated. Due to this persistence, we are now able to acknowledge more fully the harm to the survivor and to better assist and support their healing. Archbishop Naumann offers his sincere apology to the survivor, their family and community.
Mr. Haegelin served in the following parishes/schools during his time in the Archdiocese:
• St. Agnes, Roeland Park
• Blessed Sacrament, Kansas City
• Bishop Ward High School, Kansas City
• Christ the King, Kansas City
• St. Lawrence, Easton, & St. Joseph of the Valley, Leavenworth
• Immaculata High School, Leavenworth
• Sacred Heart – St. Casimir, Leavenworth
• St. Ann, Prairie Village
Archbishop Naumann urges anyone harmed by William Haegelin to contact both law enforcement and the Archdiocese. The Archdiocese takes very seriously its obligation to address any allegation of abuse or misconduct by church personnel. The archdiocesan victim care advocate will accompany victim/survivors through the archdiocesan process.
To report any allegations of abuse, contact the Kansas Protection Report Center at 800.922.5330. If there is immediate danger or someone is injured, call local law enforcement as well. If the suspected abuse or misconduct involves an Archdiocesan cleric, employee or volunteer, please also contact Jan Saylor on the Confidential Report Line at 913.647.3051 or www.archkck.org/reportabuse. Ms. Saylor will connect anyone reporting harm to the victim care advocate who will offer immediate support.
The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas has a sincere commitment to protecting our vulnerable from abuse. When those efforts fail, we strive toward transparency in the hope of healing and restoration. There is much work left to do to atone for the heinous sins and crimes committed by those who were entrusted with the sacred care of the vulnerable.