Notice of Credible Allegation of Abuse Dating to 1950s

The diocese recently received an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor by Father Sylvester Hoppe dating to 1953 to 1956. The priest, who died in 2002, was chaplain to St. Mary’s Orphanage in St. Joseph at the time.

Consistent with diocesan policy, the allegation was reported to the civil authorities and investigated. It was found credible by the independent ombudsman, Independent Review Board and Bishop Johnston.

Several prior allegations have been received against Hoppe since 2002. He also was the subject of two lawsuits claiming child sexual abuse that the diocese settled in 2008.

Hoppe served at Immaculate Conception, St. Joseph; St. Rose, Savannah; St. Patrick, Forest City; St. Paul, Tarkio; St. Benedict, Burlington Junction; St. Columban, Chillicothe; St. Ann, Excelsior Springs, and Sacred Heart Norborne. He also served as diocesan director of Catholic Boy Scouts before retiring in 1991.

“Our prayers are with the individual who came forward, which takes great courage, and with all those who have been affected,” said Carrie Cooper, Director of the office of Child and Youth Protection.

The diocese has comprehensive child protection policies that include reporting suspected abuse to civil authorities; healing and pastoral care for victims; mandated criminal background checks; and safe environment education for all clergy, employees and volunteers working with minors. The policies are online at

Anyone who suspects child abuse is urged to contact civil authorities and, if the individual has worked or volunteered for the diocese, the ombudsman.

The diocese is committed to providing support and resources for healing. Anyone who has been harmed by an individual ministering, working or volunteering for the diocese is encouraged to contact Kathleen Chastain, victim advocate, at 816-392-0011 or, for this assistance.

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 authorities, report suspected sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult to Diocesan Ombudsman Jenifer Valenti, at 816.812.2500 or, if the abuse involves a priest, deacon, employee or volunteer of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.


  1. September 27, 2018 at 10:02 pm #

    How does an independent ombudsman determine the credibility of accusations–on the word of the abuser alone? Especially since the accused has died 16 years ago–and was not able to defend themselves? Doesn’t every sexual abuser continue abusing wherever they are? Then why are the alleged accusations against Fr. Sylvester Hoppe coming in from every parish he served at? I haven’t ever heard of a sexual abuser stopping unless they die (and prayers of a good and happy death to the accused. Pray for the dying of today and tonight every day).

    I had met Fr. Hoppe many years ago at St. Ann’s in Ex. Spgs. when he officiated at my Aunt’s wedding. We all sat in the “non-Catholic side” lol. I didn’t move to the “Catholic side” until 1987, when Fr. Spike Baptized me and gave me Our Blessed Lord in Holy Communion the next day.

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November 25, 2020
The Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph