Kansas City attorney Rebecca Randles, who has gotten rich suing the Catholic Church, succeeded in getting at least half a dozen local media outlets to report on her call for an open-ended, state-wide investigation into alleged sex abuse in the Church.
For her press conference, Randles lined up four alleged middle-aged victims. KCUR focused on just one of them, Tom Viviano, who claims to have been sexually abused by a priest in St. Louis “in the 1960s.” He filed his lawsuit in 2016. He took issue with the idea of a statute of limitations.
“Why does the advantage go to those who created the problem in the first place? I know many who have been abused who are terrified to come forward, because of the abuse that continues,” Viviano claimed.
If the media are genuinely interested in rooting out the sexual abuse of minors and exposing the institutions that have historically protected abusers, the Sentinel recommends they look at area public schools. For years the Catholic Church was much too tolerant of its homosexual subculture. That has changed. Unchallenged by the media, the public school establishment has seen no reason to change.
The North Kansas City School District is a case in point. The media will not have to go back 50-some years to find unexamined scandal. One year will suffice. To save the media some research, here is a quick summary.
In April 2017, for an incredible sixth time in a 13-month period, an employee of the North Kansas School District found himself in the news accused of inappropriate sexual contact with underage students. Josh Miller, 35, was a campus supervisor at Winnetonka High School when he reportedly sent messages of a sexual nature to two female students, one fourteen and one fifteen.
More alarming still, Miller was the third employee of just that one high school to be accused of a sex crime in that one year. In March 2016, Clay County prosecutors charged Winnetonka gym teacher Jarrett Morris with sending pornography and sexting messages to two teenage students.
The rot may have started at the top. In January 2017, prosecutors in Ray County charged Winnetonka High principal Matthew Lindsey with sex crimes dating back 1997 and 1998.
Earlier in 2017 as reported in the Sentinel, a parent filed a lawsuit against the North Kansas City School District in federal court. The suit accused the district of hiring teacher Samuel Waltemath in 2011 despite a history of sexual misconduct in other school districts.
In November 2016 Waltemath pleaded guilty to second-degree statutory sodomy with a the plaintiff’s daughter, a middle school student, and was sentenced in December to seven years in prison.
In August 2016, Adam Farley, a band director at Oak Park High School, was let go after sending inappropriate texts to students, likely male. Although police investigated, it does not appear that Farley was arrested.
Also in April 2017, James Green, a North Kansas City School District middle school teacher, was arrested on sodomy charges with an underage male student. In May 2018, a federal grand jury indicted Green alleging that he engaged in sexual activity with seven minors and produced images and videos of child pornography over a period of 20 years in several different school districts.
Although the Kansas City Star account was unusually discreet on this subject, Green’s victims were male. Not until the fourteenth paragraph, in fact, does the Star use the word “him” to describe a victim, the first clue to Green’s orientation.
Green was accused of producing graphic child pornography with a 13-year-old, attempting to produce child porn with other students, and attempting to entice students into sexual activity. He had apparently also taken secret videos of students, presumably male, showering and undressing.
It is useful to compare the Star’s handling of the North Kansas City cases with its treatment just a few years back of the less serious Shawn Ratigan case. A priest at the time, Ratigan was discovered to be taking creepy clothed photos of unaware little girls at play.
After Ratigan recovered from a suicide attempt, Bishop Robert Finn moved Ratigan to a retirement home for nuns and imposed various restrictions. Heeding his attorneys’ advice, Finn did not report Ratigan to the police. At a family reunion, Ratigan started taking photos anew and was busted.
For Star editors and reporters, the Ratigan scandal was tailor made. Unlike most accused priests, Ratigan’s pathology was heterosexual. Better still, his ultimate supervisor, Bishop Finn, was described in media reports as a “theological conservative” with a record of challenging the Star’s agenda on life issues.
At the first whiff of the Ratigan scandal, the Star started to run above-the-fold headlines and soon called for the bishop’s resignation. “It’s painful to believe the most vulnerable in his flock weren’t protected,” criticized a Star editorialist.
In 2015, when Bishop Finn presided at the ordination of new priests, a Star editorial slammed the choice of Finn as “a repulsive, reckless and yet a par-for-the-course decision by the local Catholic hierarchy.” This was one of least ninety Star articles or editorials on the Ratigan case. The media pressure led to Finn’s indictment.
By contrast, despite the six sex cases in North KC, the Star has yet to even mention the name of North KC School Superintendent. Until the media begin to investigate the role teachers’ unions play in protecting the “mobile molesters” in their midst, it will be hard to take their outrage over sexual abuse by priests seriously.