Notice of Credible Allegations of Abuse

The Diocese of Springfield – Cape Girardeau has publicized as credible, two allegations of the sexual abuse of minors by two deceased priests of that diocese. Both priests, Msgr. Mark C. Ernstmann (deceased, 2013) and Msgr. John J. Rynish (deceased, 2001) were ordained for the then Diocese of Kansas City, prior to its 1956 merger with the Diocese of St. Joseph and the creation of the Diocese of Springfield – Cape Girardeau.

Within the current territory of the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph, Msgr. Ernstmann served as assistant pastor at the former St. Stephen Parish in Kansas City (now Our Lady of Peace Parish) from 1951-53. Msgr. Rynish served as assistant pastor at Holy Cross Parish in Kansas City from 1943-50 and as assistant pastor at the former St. Stephen (now Our Lady of Peace) Parish in 1953. Both men served the rest of their careers in the Diocese of Springfield – Cape Girardeau and both allegations of abuse come from their time in Springfield – Cape Girardeau.

If you were harmed by Msgrs. Ernstmann or Rynish 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, Jenifer Valenti, at 816.812.2500 or jenifervalenti@att.net for more information.

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, Jenifer Valenti, at 816.812.2500 or JeniferValenti@att.net, 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 chastain@diocesekcsj.org for more information.

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Thursday
December 12, 2019
Newspaper of the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph