Crime

Allegations of abuse by eight priests at northwest Missouri abbey found credible

Conception Abbey published a list Monday of eight priests who had credible allegations of sexual abuse made against them.

Seven of the eight identified by the Benedictine monastery have died, the organization said on its website. The eighth was removed from ministry.

The abbey, about 95 miles north of Kansas City, hired retired FBI agents to review personnel files of priests and brothers who had served in the past seven decades.

Abbot Benedict Neenan apologized to the victims who were “affected by the evil of clergy sexual abuse.”

“It is my prayer and hope that publishing this list will aid in the healing of victims,” he said in a statement posted on the abbey’s website.

In 2011, the abbey implemented a policy of protection of children and vulnerable adults. They have also hired a victim advocate.

David Clohessy, volunteer leader of Missouri Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said he hopes the list’s release will prompt other victims to come forward, and called for the abbey to release additional information including the full work histories of the eight priests.

The priests with credible allegations include:

— Father Vincent Barsch who was ordained in 1945, left religious life in 1973 and died in 2010

— Father Bede Parry who was ordained in 1983, dismissed from religious life in 2002 and died in 2013

— Father Edgar Probstfield who was ordained in 1952 and died in 2007

— Father Regis Probstfield who was ordained in 1957 and died in 2008

— Father Gilbert Stack who was ordained in 1939 and died in 2007

— Father Hugh Tasch who was ordained in 1957 and died in 2017

— Father Paschal Thomas who was ordained in 1959 and died in 2015

— Father Isaac True who was ordained in 1966 and was removed from ministry

Conception Abbey has settled lawsuits against two of the priests totaling more than half a million dollars. In 2013, it settled a $125,000 sexual abuse lawsuit against True, and in 2017, a lawsuit that accused the abbey of a cover up involving abuse by Parry was settled for $415,000.

The Abbey operates Conception Seminary College, which has educated almost 75 percent of the active diocesan priests in the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese and about 31 percent in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, according to its website.

Star reporter Judy Thomas contributed to this report.

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Katie Moore covers crime and justice issues for The Star. She is a University of Kansas graduate and was previously a reporter in her hometown of Topeka, Kansas.
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