Ruling in sex-abuse lawsuit involves former auxiliary bishop from KC's Catholic diocese

The Kansas City Star/April 17, 2009

A judge this week ordered two Catholic dioceses to turn over records in a sex-abuse case that involves a former auxiliary bishop from the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

Joseph Vincent Sullivan, an auxiliary bishop of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese from 1967 to 1974, is accused in a lawsuit of molesting a seminary student in Corpus Christi, Texas, three decades ago.

The records are to be turned over to Sullivan's accuser, Glenn Hymel of Houston. He has alleged that abuse occurred repeatedly between 1978 and 1982 while he was at the seminary and on trips he took with Sullivan, who was bishop of the Diocese of Baton Rouge at the time. Sullivan died in 1982.

On Wednesday, a judge ordered the Corpus Christi and Baton Rouge dioceses to produce records from a 2002 study on clergy sexual abuse.

In 2004, the Diocese of Baton Rouge settled another lawsuit involving Sullivan after finding that the allegations against him were credible.

Officials with the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese said Thursday that they had received no complaints about inappropriate conduct by Sullivan in the years he was with the diocese. They said, however, that in 2005 the diocese was named as a co-defendant in a civil lawsuit filed in Hawaii. It accused Sullivan of sexually abusing a minor during visits to Hawaii from 1969 to 1977.

Rebecca Summers, spokeswoman for the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese, said it contributed $10,000 in 2007 to an out-of-court settlement.

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