Notice of Credible Allegation of Abuse

April 3, 2020

Bishop Johnston and diocesan leaders recognize how difficult it can be for a survivor of clergy sexual abuse to come forward and appreciate the great courage it takes in making a report to the Church.

The diocese has received and deemed credible an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor by deceased Father Peter Clement Vatter. This allegation was deemed credible following the diocesan Policy for Response to Allegations, by the Ombudsman, Independent Review Board and Bishop Johnston. The abuse occurred in the late 1940’s when Vatter was assigned as Pastor at Immaculate Conception Parish, Moberly, Missouri. In 1955, the parish was renamed St. Pius X Parish.

Fr. Vatter’s name has been added to the diocese’s List of Diocesan Clergy With Substantiated Abuse Allegations, which can be found on the diocesan website here.

Fr. Vatter was born April 16, 1889 and ordained for the Diocese of St. Joseph on June 13, 1916.  In 1956, the dioceses of St. Joseph and Kansas City merged, and new boundaries were created to allow for the establishment of the Diocese of Jefferson City.  At the time of the abuse, Immaculate Conception Parish in Moberly was a part of the Diocese of St. Joseph.  Immaculate Conception Parish – now St. Pius X Parish has been within the boundaries of the Diocese of Jefferson City since 1956.

Fr. Vatter’s parish assignments included:  Assistant pastor at St. Columban Parish, Chillicothe; assistant pastor at St. Boniface Parish, Brunswick; and Pastor, Immaculate Conception, Moberly prior to his death, November 29, 1950.

The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph takes very seriously any allegations of sexual abuse made against employees, clerics or volunteers who serve in the diocese. Anyone who has knowledge of such abuse or inappropriate behavior is encouraged to make a confidential report with the Ombudsman.  If you were harmed by Fr. Vatter or any other person who has worked or volunteered for the diocese, no matter how long ago, the diocese wants to provide care and healing resources to you and your family. Please contact the Ombudsman, Joe Crayon, at 816.812.2500 or

Report suspicions of abuse:

  1. Call the Missouri Child Abuse Hotline at 1.800.392.3738 (if the victim is currently under the age of 18), and
  2. Contact your local law enforcement agency or call 911, and
  3. After reporting to these civil and law enforcement authorities, report suspected sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult to the Diocesan Ombudsman, Joe Crayon, at 816.812.2500 or, if the abuse involves a priest, deacon, employee or volunteer of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

The Diocese has a sincere commitment to providing care and healing resources to victims of sexual abuse and their families. Please contact the Victim Advocate, Kathleen Chastain, at 816.392.0011 or for more information.

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