Crime

Mistrial declared in KCK priest’s sex abuse case after jury is unable to reach verdict

A jury on Monday was unable to reach a verdict in the case of a Kansas City, Kansas, priest on trial for child molestation after he was accused of touching a 10-year-old girl’s breasts.

The Rev. Scott Kallal, 37, had been charged in Wyandotte County District Court with two felony counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child.

Shortly after 5:30 p.m. Monday, Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Jonathan Carter said jurors completed their deliberations and returned as a hung jury.

The trial, which began last week, concerned two incidents that allegedly occurred in 2015, according to testimony.

At Kallal’s preliminary hearing in 2017, a 13-year-old girl testified that when she was 10, Kallal twice tickled her breasts against her wishes. The first alleged incident was at a friend’s graduation party in Bonner Springs in spring 2015. The girl said she and other girls were outside playing soccer when Kallal tickled her inappropriately.

The second alleged incident took place a few months later at the parish hall gymnasium at St. Patrick’s Church.

The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas suspended Kallal in July 2017 after receiving allegations of inappropriate conduct involving two people, one a minor.

He continues to be on a leave of absence. Once the legal process has concluded, the Archdiocese said, it will resume its process of evaluation.

“I continue to pray that truth is served and all those affected by this ordeal may find healing and peace,” Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann said in a statement Monday.

The Rev. Scott Kallal
The Rev. Scott Kallal LORIWOODHABIGER Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas

In testimony last week, the girl’s adoptive mother said she waited to report the inappropriate touching she witnessed because she didn’t think the church would do anything.

She saw the priest carrying her daughter in a way he shouldn’t have been, she said. But she did not see him touch her daughter’s breast as the girl later reported.

Clutching a rosary for comfort and strength during her testimony, the woman said she told Kallal to put her daughter down. She told him that it was inappropriate, she testified.

She had to say that about three times before he put the girl down, she said.

“She was scared,” the woman said.

The woman testified that she was mortified and shell-shocked at what happened. She didn’t know what what to do.

She said the fact that Kallal was a priest also affected how she responded. She was a “cradle Catholic” and raised to hold priests in higher regard, she said.

She said she found herself on the one hand having to protect her daughter and on the other hand betraying a priest whom she knew.

In January, the Archdiocese released a list naming more than 20 priests who were credibly accused of sexual abuse.

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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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