Statement from Bishop Johnston

Office of the Bishop

Recently, it was learned that civil officials in Wyoming have decided not to prosecute former
Bishop Joseph Hart, formerly a priest in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. It is my hope that
the District Attorney’s Office will eventually provide more information as to why this decision
was made to assist understanding.

I echo the words of Cheyenne Bishop Stephen Biegler that a decision not to pursue criminal
prosecution does not mean that the victims involved are not credible. Any victim who has
courageously come forward to speak of their abuse is to be commended. I recognize the decision not
to prosecute has had a strong impact for them and their families. I stand by the determinations
made by the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph’s Independent Review Board that allegations of
sexual abuse against former Bishop Hart are credible. Likewise, the Diocese of Kansas City-St.
Joseph is eager for a just resolution for everyone.

Distinct from the civil process, it is important to know that a canonical process remains before
the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome. Our diocese has not received any new
information related to this Roman matter.

Most Reverend James V. Johnston, Jr. Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph

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.

Diocese of Kansas City- St. Joseph
The Catholic Center
20 West 9th Street
Kansas City, Missouri 64105
816-756-1850 • Bishops Fax: 816-756-2105 •


Statement re Bishop Hart June 11 2020

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