Faith

Priest in KCK archdiocese engaged in misconduct with adult, church reveals

The Rev. Anthony Kiplagat
The Rev. Anthony Kiplagat

A Kenyan priest on assignment in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas has engaged in unprofessional conduct with an adult, the archdiocese has revealed.

In a statement issued in the Nov. 4 edition of The Leaven, its official newspaper, the archdiocese said it made the finding after completing an internal investigation of the Rev. Anthony Kiplagat, who left the country earlier this year.

The investigation found that Kiplagat “had engaged in unprofessional conduct and violated clerical continence,” the statement said.

Kiplagat, a priest of the Diocese of Eldoret in Kenya, since July 2012 had been assigned to St. Patrick Catholic Church in Osage City, Kan., and St. Patrick Catholic Church in Scranton, Kan. The woman who lodged the complaint was not a member of either parish, the archdiocese has said. Kiplagat’s previous assignments included St. Agnes in Roeland Park and Prince of Peace and St. Paul in Olathe.

Archdiocesan spokeswoman Anita McSorley told The Star that the archdiocese received a complaint against Kiplagat in January 2016 and was told that the allegation had been reported to Overland Park police the same day. She said the archdiocese immediately launched an internal investigation in cooperation with police.

“Father Kiplagat has denied the allegations made against him,” McSorley said in an email. “The investigation by the Overland Park Police Department is ongoing, and the archdiocese is cooperating fully.”

The archdiocese did not reveal details of the alleged misconduct, but Johnson County court records show that an order of protection from stalking was granted to a woman in February who said Kiplagat had sexually assaulted her and threatened to kill her and harm her family if she went to the church and broke her silence.

Kiplagat returned to Kenya in February after the archdiocese received the allegation against him, according to the statement in The Leaven.

“Before archdiocesan officials informed Father Kiplagat of the allegation, he unexpectedly left the country,” the statement said.

According to the statement, the archdiocese has relayed the results of its investigation to church officials in the Diocese of Eldoret.

“The archdiocese will make no further statements while the case is under investigation by law enforcement,” the statement said.

In her request for an order of protection, which was filed Feb. 9, the woman said that “on or about 2013 Father Anthony Kiplagat told me he had infected me and if I go to the church and break my silence he would kill me and harm my family.”

The woman said she had tapes of their arguments, that “he calls me a footstool” and “says God told him he was to be with me.” She said that “when I speak out he will slap, kick or verbally abuse me.”

She said she and Kiplagat did not live together.

“He says I’m his wife, girlfriend when I tell him he is wrong for doing this,” she said. “He states the church is aware.”

The reasons the woman gave for requesting a protection order were “harassment, unwanted advances, threatens my life, caused medical problems.”

The stalking, the document said, occurred in Johnson County.

Court records indicate that officers were not able to find Kiplagat to serve him the order, which was granted Feb. 16.

McSorley said Kiplagat first came to the archdiocese in 2007 as a student at the University of St. Mary in Leavenworth. After completing his studies, she said, Kiplagat received permission from his bishop in Kenya to stay and work in the archdiocese.

“The archdiocese received a positive letter of reference on Father Kiplagat,” McSorley said in the email. “Father Kiplagat also participated in and successfully completed all of our Safe Environment documentation and training, and he passed criminal background checks in both Feburary 2009 and in June 2012.”

Judy L. Thomas: 816-234-4334, @judylthomas

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