Notice of Credible Allegation of Abuse

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 Henry Vetter, C.P., a member of the Passionist Order. This allegation was deemed credible following the diocesan Policy for Response to Allegations, by the Ombudsman, Independent Review Board and Bishop Johnston. The sexual abuse occurred between 1948-1950 at St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church in Joplin, Missouri.

Fr. Vetter’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.

Fr. Vetter was born on December 17, 1911, took his vows with the Passionist Order in 1930 and was ordained a Catholic priest in 1938. The Passionist Order confirmed that Fr. Vetter was assigned to the Chicago House as a Missionary from 1947 – 1949, and then the St. Paul, Kansas House from 1949 -1950 in Missionary/Retreats. At the time of the abuse, the parish was located within the boundaries of the Diocese of Kansas City, but became part of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau in 1956. Fr. Vetter died in an automobile accident in 1977.

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. Vetter 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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