Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas today announced that Father John Pilcher will resume his duties as pastor of Mater Dei Parish in Topeka immediately. Father Pilcher does so after a seven-month period during which he stepped away from his duties after an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor was made against him. Father Pilcher was on a leave of absence from public ministry to facilitate the investigation of the allegation. During that period, the allegation was fully investigated by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI). The Archdiocese has been informed that civil authorities have declined prosecution.
Per archdiocesan policy, the archdiocesan lay investigator also conducted a separate investigation of the allegation. Her findings were reviewed by the archdiocesan Independent Review Board (IRB) which then made its recommendation regarding the matter to Archbishop Naumann. Father Pilcher, who vigorously denies the allegation, has fully cooperated with both the civil and archdiocesan investigations. Following the internal review process and taking into account all the information available, Archbishop Naumann has determined that Father Pilcher is suitable to return to ministry. Archbishop Naumann makes this decision committed to the bedrock principle that a person should be afforded the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Archbishop Naumann has full confidence in Father Pilcher.
Father Pilcher is eager to resume public ministry, serving Mater Dei Parish and the Topeka community. The Archdiocese asks for continued prayers for all involved in this matter, and would also like to thank the dedicated parish and school staff, Father John Torrez, who has served as the parochial administrator of Mater Dei Parish, Fathers Joseph Chontos and Karl Good, who provided sacramental assistance and pastoral ministry, Deacons Robert Ortiz and Christopher Seago for their pastoral ministry, and the faithful parishioners who have offered their prayers for all parties in this difficult matter.
The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas takes all allegations of misconduct by church personnel very seriously and works to respond to survivors’ needs with urgency, respect and compassion. We encourage anyone with knowledge about any misconduct by any church volunteer, employee, religious or clergy member to contact civil authorities first, and then make a report to our confidential report line at 913-647-3051 or online at www.archkck.org/reportabuse.
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Mater Dei Catholic Parish (Latin for Mother of God) was established on July 14, 2006 by the merging of Assumption and Holy Name Parishes in downtown Topeka. Masses continue to be celebrated at both churches.
9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Holy Name Church: 5:00 PM
Holy Name Church: 8:00 AM, 10:30AM & 5:00 PM
Holy Name Chapel: 8:00 AM
Saturday 3:30 - 4:30 PM at Holy Name