A former Kansas City-area Catholic priest sexually abused four boys in an Independence family, a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Jackson County Circuit Court alleges.
John Tulipana, who left the ministry in the mid-1990s, purportedly abused four boys while serving at St. Catherine of Siena Church in Kansas City. The suit alleged that the abuse began in 1976 and occurred on camping trips and at the family’s home.
The suit names Tulipana and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph as defendants. It does not identify the plaintiffs.
Tulipana could not be reached for comment Wednesday. A recording on his home phone line said the number had been disconnected.
In a statement issued Wednesday, the diocese noted that its leaders had twice sent the priest for psychological evaluations in the early 1990s after complaints about him. He returned to the ministry in both cases, the statement noted, only after the diocese received the approval of medical specialists.
Tulipana’s name first surfaced regarding abuse in 1994 when The Kansas City Star reported that the diocese had paid a man $150,000 to settle accusations that he had been abused 13 years before.
The diocese soon confirmed that it had settled two complaints against Tulipana, who continued to deny the allegations.
Allegations against Tulipana also were part of a $10 million settlement the diocese approved in 2008 with 47 plaintiffs who had claimed sexual abuse by clerics.
Earlier this month, the diocese was sued over the alleged conduct of a priest who died of AIDS in 1992.
The suit alleged that James H. Ford, who left the priesthood in 1986, abused the boy in the mid-1970s at Holy Cross Parish and at a rectory. As a result, the suit contended, the “plaintiff’s life devolved into one of alcoholism and drug abuse.”
In a statement on the suit, the diocese said it notified law enforcement about another claim of abuse against Ford, which purportedly occurred in the early 1980s.
“The individual accepted counseling services at the expense of the diocese as well as a financial settlement,” the statement read.
In both cases, the diocese urged anyone who knows of sexual abuse in the church to contact its ombudsman, Jenifer Valenti, at (816) 812-2500 or send e-mail to JeniferValenti@att.net.
To contact Mark Morris, call 816-234-4310 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.