Statement from the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, Sept. 27, 2021
The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas announced at all Masses the weekend of Sept. 25-26 at Mater Dei Parish in Topeka that it has received an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against Father John Pilcher, pastor. In accord with archdiocesan protocol, law enforcement was notified of the allegation and Father Pilcher has been suspended from the public exercise of priestly ministry pending the outcome of an investigation into the matter.
Father Pilcher denies the allegation and is cooperating fully. He will remain on leave until the investigation is concluded and the archdiocesan Independent Review Board has reviewed the case and made a recommendation to Archbishop Joseph Naumann regarding the 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 and respect. We encourage anyone with knowledge about this case or 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.
William Haegelin is now listed under “Substantiated Allegations of Clergy Sexual Abuse of a Minor.”
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.