Diocese of Dodge City names 10 priests, 2 seminarians accused of child sex crimes

DODGE CITY, Kan. (KWCH) The Diocese of Dodge City has released the names of 10 priests and two seminarians accused with "substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of children."

Five of the priests: Donald Fiedler, John Haberthier, Augustine Hanchak, Cletus (“Jerry”) Stein, Edward Young - had allegations within the Dodge City Diocese. The other five: Orestes Huerta, Mario Islas, Richard Kolega, Donald Straub and Joseph Thiesen - worked in the diocese but had allegations from outside of it. The two seminarians are Heleodoro (“Leo”) de Hoyos and Joel McClure.

Several of the priests named above are either dead or are no longer serve as priests.

The most recent cases involve Orestes Huerta, a priest, and Joel McClure, a seminarian.

Huerta served in the Dodge City Diocese from September 1997 to September 2000. at St. Mary, Garden City and Christ the King, Deerfield. A report was received of allegations of incidents that occurred in the Boac Diocese after Huerta returned to the Philippines from the Dodge City Diocese. Public announcements were made in the Dodge City Diocese in February 2010. No allegations received from his time in the Dodge City Diocese.

McClure was dismissed from the Diocese of Dodge City as a seminarian in August 2015 due to a law enforcement investigation. He pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of transportation of child pornography in March 2016.

In an open letter, Bishop John Brungardt apologized to the victim-survivors of child sexual abuse and asked for their forgiveness. He also thanked Retired Judge Robert J. Schmisseur for completing a review and audit of priests, deacons and seminarians in the diocese which led to the verified claims.

You can read a letter from Bishop Brungardt and the names of accused priests and the allegations here and below.

Bishop John B. Brungardt released the following Wednesday morning:

Oct. 1, 2019
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

My whole strength lies in prayer and sacrifice, these are my invincible arms; they can move hearts far better than words, I know it by experience,” wrote St. Thérèse of Lisieux. She knew much suffering, as St. Thérèse died from tuberculosis at age 24. I ask her intercession as we publish the list of priests and seminarians who have substantiated allegations of the sexual abuse of children.

I apologize to victim-survivors of child sexual abuse, especially those who were abused by priests and seminarians of the Catholic Diocese of Dodge City. You have suffered from this terrible sin. I beg your forgiveness. I pray our Lord Jesus will give His healing love to you and your families. We hope in Christ: “… power came forth from [Jesus] and healed them all” (Luke 6:19).

I offer my assistance to the victim-survivors and their families. If you wish, I will meet personally with you and your support people.

If anyone you know may have been a victim of sexual abuse by clergy, seminarian, employee or volunteer of the Catholic Diocese of Dodge City, please call local law enforcement, the Kansas Department for Children and Families Report Center, or the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. In addition to making a report to the civil authorities, you may contact the representative from our diocesan Review Board for assistance and he will also offer the help of our Assistance Minister (all contact info is on our website and in the Southwest Kansas Catholic newspaper).

I pray for just punishment, remorse, and conversion of the perpetrators and concealers of sexual abuse. I thank law enforcement, attorneys, judges, health professionals and all who help victims of this heinous crime.

I am grateful to Retired Judge Robert J. Schmisseur for his careful attention in auditing our clergy and seminarian files.

I affirm all faithful priests, deacons, and seminarians who are true servants of God. It is easy to be discouraged, but we take hope in our Savior. Jesus is with us, and will strengthen us.

I encourage everyone to be involved in our Safe Environment program as we learn and implement ways to keep our children protected. I appreciate the countless staff and volunteers of this ministry. May all organizations that work with minors rededicate themselves to keeping children safe.

St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, intercede for us as we follow your example of prayer and sacrifice. Let us trust in our Gentle Savior. Jesus “saw a great crowd, and he had compassion for them and cured their sick” (Matthew 14:14). Jesus is revealing our sufferings, healing our wounds, and loving us more than we can ask or imagine.

+ Bishop John B. Brungardt
Catholic Diocese of Dodge City

PRIESTS WITH ALLEGATIONS ARISING IN THE DODGE CITY DIOCESE

Donald Fiedler (not permitted to function as a priest since 2007)
Ordained for the Wichita Diocese May 1959; became a priest of Dodge City Diocese August 1964. Served in the Dodge City Diocese September 1961- January 1988: St. Rose, Great Bend; St. Joan of Arc, Elkhart; St. Helen, Hugoton; St. Alphonsus, Satanta; St. Dominic, Garden City; Mary, Queen of Peace, Ulysses.

Allegations arising from incidents in the Diocese of Dodge City in the mid-1980s. Allegations determined substantiated.

John Haberthier (deceased)
Ordained for the Wichita Diocese May 1948. He became a priest of the Dodge City Diocese when it became a diocese in 1951.

Served in the Dodge City Diocese August 1950-December 1973: Sacred Heart Church/Cathedral, Dodge City; St. Rose Hospital, Great Bend; St. Theresa, Dighton; St. Michael, LaCrosse; St. Timothy, Satanta; Bob Wilson Hospital, Ulysses; Immaculate Heart of Mary, Windthorst; St. Patrick, Plains.

Served in the Pueblo Diocese in Colorado November 1973-July 1977 and in the San Bernardino Diocese in California April 1979- 1987.

Allegations arising in the Dodge City Diocese and the Pueblo Diocese for incidents in the late 1960’s thru the mid-1970s determined to be substantiated and public announcements were made in the Dodge City Diocese in December 2006.

Augustine Hanchak, CPPS (deceased)
A member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. Served in the Dodge City Diocese August 1963-August 1965 at St. Mary, Garden City.

Recent allegations arising in the Dodge City Diocese for incidents in the 1960’s have been reported and determined substantiated.

Cletus (“Jerry”) Stein (no longer a priest)
Ordained for the Dodge City Diocese December 1966. Served in the Dodge City Diocese August 1967-September 1972 and April
1975-June 1987: St. Joseph, Ellinwood; Sacred Heart, Pratt; St. John, Hoisington; Sacred Heart Cathedral, Dodge City; St. Rose,
Great Bend; St. Joseph, Greensburg; St. George, Bucklin; St. Alphonsus, Satanta; St. Mary of the Plains College, Dodge City.

Served in the Archdiocese of Denver Sept. 1972-July 1974.

Served in the Diocese of Amarillo beginning July 1987 and became a priest of Amarillo in 1993.

Allegations determined substantiated.

Edward Young (deceased)
Ordained for the Dodge City Diocese May 1953. Served in the Dodge City Diocese June 1953-August 1970: Sacred Heart Cathedral, Dodge City; Sacred Heart, Pratt; St. John the Evangelist, Hoisington; Dominican Convent, Great Bend; St. Rose Hospital, Great Bend; St. Rose Parish, Great Bend; St. Helen, Hugoton; St. Timothy, Satanta. He became a priest of the Sioux City Diocese in
1974.

Allegations arising in the Dodge City Diocese in the late 1950s-early 1960s. Allegations determined substantiated.

PRIESTS WHO SERVED IN THE DODGE CITY DIOCESE WITH ALLEGATIONS: ARISING OUTSIDE THE DODGE CITY DIOCESE

Orestes Huerta (priest of the Diocese of Boac, Philippines)
Served in the Dodge City Diocese from September 1997 to September 2000 at St. Mary, Garden City and Christ the King, Deerfield.

A report was received of allegations of incidents that occurred in the Boac Diocese after Huerta returned to the Philippines from the Dodge City Diocese. Public announcements were made in the Dodge City Diocese in February 2010. No allegations received from his time in the Dodge City Diocese.

Mario Islas (no longer a priest)
Ordained for the El Paso Diocese May 1970. Served in the Dodge City Diocese December 1988-February 1994: St. John the Baptist, Meade; St. Patrick, Plains; St. Anthony, Liberal; Christ the King, Deerfield; St. Mary, Garden City.

He is on the “list of credible accusations” of the El Paso Diocese. Public announcements were made in the Dodge City Diocese in January 2019. No allegations received from his time in the Dodge City Diocese.

Richard Kolega, CPPS (deceased)
A member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. Served in the Dodge City Diocese September 1973-August 1974 and January 1986-October 1991: St. Mary, Garden City; St. Anthony, Lakin; Christ the King, Deerfield; Our Lady of Guadalupe, Dodge City.

He is on the “list of credible accusations” of the San Angelo Diocese. No allegations received from his time in Dodge City Diocese.

Donald Straub (no longer a priest)
Ordained for the St. Louis Archdiocese May 1975. He served in the Dodge City Diocese from September 1990-January 1991 at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Dodge City.

He is on the “list of substantiated allegations” for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. When the Archdiocese determined allegations to be substantiated, public announcements were made in the Dodge City Diocese May 2004. No allegations received from his time in the Dodge City Diocese.

Joseph Thiesen (deceased)
Ordained a priest for the New York Archdiocese May 1953. Served in the Dodge City Diocese October 1988-May 1989 at the Dominican Convent and Central Kansas Medical Center in Great Bend.

He is on the “list of credible accusations” for the New York Archdiocese. No allegations received from his time in the Dodge City Diocese.

DODGE CITY DIOCESAN SEMINARIANS

Heleodoro (“Leo”) de Hoyos
Allegation from Oklahoma in 1997 when he was a seminarian of the Dodge City Diocese. He was dismissed as a seminarian.

Joel McClure
Due to law enforcement investigation and with the cooperation of the Diocese of Dodge City, he was dismissed as a seminarian in August 2015. He pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of transportation of child pornography in March 2016.

IF YOU SUSPECT ABUSE

If you suspect abuse or neglect of a child in Kansas and the child is in immediate danger, call 911 or local law enforcement.

If you have suspicion a child is being abused or neglected, make a confidential report to Kansas Department for Children and Families Protection Report Center, 800-922-5330 or to the KBI Hotline, 800-KSCRIME (800-572-7463), or by emailing ClergyAbuse@kbi.ks.gov.

If you suspect sexual abuse by Church personnel, in addition to making a report to the proper civil authorities, please contact Mr. Charles Befort, the diocesan Review Board representative who receives and follows up on reports. His contact information is crbefort@cox.net, 620-285-3219. In addition, Mr. Befort will offer the help of the Assistance Minister whose goal is to be a listening ear and to promote healing.