KC diocese names ombudsman to investigate abuse

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph has named an ombudsman to investigate reports of clergy misconduct.

Bishop Robert Finn said in a statement Thursday that Jenifer Valenti, formerly with the Jackson County prosecutor’s office, also will investigate reports of inappropriate behavior or sexual misconduct by employees and other program volunteers.

Valenti will focus particularly on reports involving children and young people.

The diocese has come under criticism recently after a Kansas City-area priest was charged with possessing child pornography. A federal lawsuit claims the diocese and Finn tried to cover up the priest’s crimes to save the church’s reputation.

David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said a staff addition would not make much difference because Valenti would still answer to Finn.

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