Clergy sex abuse survivors’ group demands KCPD remove twice-accused chaplain

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A victims’ advocate group is demanding that a Kansas City Police Department chaplain who once faced sexual abuse allegations be removed.

The Rev. Stan Archie, who is a licensed counselor, has served as a police chaplain for about a decade. In 2014, a Jackson County jury ordered Archie’s church, Christian Fellowship Baptist Church, to pay $350,000 to a former staffer who said Archie took sexual advantage of her.

“We think a twice-accused predator should not be given titles and roles that enable him to win people’s trust,” said David Clohessy, former national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

“This is just reckless,” Clohessy said Thursday.

“We would ask the Chief what will it do for confidence in the department if another victim steps forward. Imagine what it would do for public confidence in the department if they are forced to admit down the road after another allegation.”

The Police Department said in a written statement that it was investigating and reviewing the matter internally.

“The Kansas City Missouri Police Department takes accusations of this nature very seriously,” the statement said. “Although chaplains are unpaid volunteers, we acknowledge this chaplain is affiliated with our department. Therefore, any accusations of misconduct are very concerning to us.”

Archie is the senior pastor at the Christian Fellowship Baptist Church at 4509 Troost Avenue.

Reached by phone Thursday, he said the 2014 lawsuit settlement exonerated him of the accusations.

“It is up to the Police Department to do their internal investigation,” he said. “I think responding to false accusations in a submissive way does not support the element of truth.”

Archie said he has been investigated on three separate occasions and has not been criminally charged. “They have all turned up the same,” he said. “At the end of the day, do I want to continue to serve and support people, well that’s what I do.”

Police Department chaplains are not involved in criminal investigations but periodically deliver invocations at department events, police said. Chaplains from different faiths make themselves available to staff members who want spiritual advice and support.

The Police Department has 12 chaplains but plans to expand that number to 18.

Archie resigned as president of the Missouri State Board of Education in January 2013 after two women filed lawsuits accusing him of sexual misconduct.

A former staffer said Archie had taken sexual advantage of her by abusing his position as a pastoral counselor at the church. Three other women testified at a trial in 2014 that Archie had inappropriate sexual discussions with them.

Archie now serves as vice chairman of the Kansas City Plan Commission, which recently was involved in renaming The Paseo Boulevard the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Archie isn’t the first police chaplain with a history of sexual abuse allegations.

Monsignor Thomas J. O’Brien, a Roman Catholic priest, was a chaplain for the Police Department from 1974 to 2002, according to lawsuits.

O’Brien later became the subject of more than two dozen lawsuits alleging sexual abuse. One, settled in 2013 for $2.25 million, was filed by the parents of a boy who they claimed took his own life in 1983 because of repeated sexual abuse by O’Brien.

The monsignor also was among a dozen priests named in a 47-plaintiff case that the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese settled for $10 million in 2008.

O’Brien repeatedly denied all abuse allegations and died in 2013 at 87.

Clohessy, of SNAP, said the Police Department should have removed Archie after the first allegations were made against him.

“They knew about the first two accusers but kept him on anyway,” he said. “The Police Department should at least be the single agency most concerned about associating itself with accused offenders.

“You (the Police Department) can’t have your cake and eat it too,” Clohessy said. “You can’t say that you want victims of sexual misdeeds to call us and then keep a twice-accused offender as a chaplain.”

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Glenn E. Rice covers crime, courts and breaking news for The Kansas City Star, where he’s worked since 1988. Rice is a Kansas City native and a graduate of the University of Central Missouri.
Judy L. Thomas joined The Star in 1995 and is a member of the investigative team, focusing on watchdog journalism. Over three decades, the Kansas native has covered domestic terrorism, extremist groups and clergy sex abuse. Her stories on Kansas secrecy and religion have been nationally recognized.