HB2206 Clergy on Fiduciary Duty
Letter to Kansas State Representatives 1/30/07
Dear Rep. Siegfreid,
I am writing you today to ask for your support of HB2206, which would add clergy to the list of professionals on the
Kansas's Fiduciary Duty Laws, making it illegal for clergy to get sexually involved with a person they are counseling.
If someone would have asked me 3 years ago what "fiduciary duty" was, I wouldn't have had a clue. It was only
after being sexual assaulted by a "celibate" Roman Catholic Priest, Fr. Nicholas Voelker, that I understood the
meaning of "fiduciary duty".
The first contact from the Wichita Catholic Diocese to me after I reported
the sexual assault perpetrated by Fr. Nicholas Voelker was from the diocesan attorney, Karl Hesse, of the law firm Foulston/Sifkin,
in Sept., 2004. Very pastoral. The week prior I had filed a PFA (Protection From Abuse Order) on Fr. Voelker and Mr. Hesse
called me saying "Fr. Voelker will do anything you want, just don't take it to the courts." Little did I know
that filing the PFA on Voelker was as far as the assault would go in the court system in Kansas. And it almost didn't
go that far. When the judge signing the temporary order said "I don't know if I should be signing this." When
I asked, "Why not, are you Catholic?" He said, "No, but my judgeship is an elected position." It was at
that moment that I knew I was up against a huge, powerful organization, nothing but big business, the Roman Catholic Church.
The Church that up until the assault was the most important thing in my life. Soon after I got the PFA, Denis Vengtriglia,
a clergy abuse attorney from Wilmington, NC. agreed to take my case. Mr. Ventrigia told Mr. Hesse that Voelker had broke his
fiduciary duty to me as a priest/counselor. Hesse fired back, "There are no fiduciary duty laws in the state of Kansas
regarding clergy." I still had hope in the criminal side of the law since the law is written that "any unwanted
sexual contact is criminal" and Voelker poking his erection into my stomach was definately unwanted. I also had faith
in Sedwick County D.A. Nola Foulston. Mrs. Foulston had helped my extended family (Mohr/Dugan) in a prior traumatic situation
and seemed to have a sympathetic heart. Little did I know that before becoming D.A. Mrs. Foulston had been an attorney at
the Catholic Diocesan Law Firm, Foulston/Sifkin. It was devestating when she held her press conference announcing that no
criminal charges would be filed and that after a "full investigation" the incident was found to be consensual! Mrs.
Foulston's "full investigation" consisted soley on information from the Wichita Catholic Diocese, I never spoke
to Mrs. Foulston or gave a statement to the detective on the case, Det. Wiswell. The only information they had from me was
the police report written by a Catholic police officer, which was full of mistakes - i.e. report stated that I was single
at the time of the assault, when in fact I had been married for 12 yrs and just gave birth to our 4th child 5 months prior
to the assault.
For Catholics who have been taught all their lives that priests are the "chosen ones called
by God" and that celibacy is a "gift from God", their parish priest is the first person they turn too in tramatic
situations. Most lay people seek out their clergy in the most vulnerable of times, wether it be during the loss of a loved
one or counseling during the realization of childhood sexual abuse. In my case it was pretty much all of the above, I truly
believed that "Father" had all the answers that would make my pain go away. When a person is victimized by clergy
the pain is so destructive, they are left feeling as though they have no one to turn to. After 3 years, I still struggle with
trust issues and will probably never participate in any organized religion again but my faith in our Creator continues to
grow when I encounter people like Rep. Nile Dillmore who so graciously is sponsering this bill, and others like Ron and Cheryl
Nutt, the owners and operators of the local Wichita TV Station KCTU, where they have given me a monthly show slot on their
"River City Forum" call in show. I have coined my slot "Educating to End Abuse". It is an awesome forum
where I find victims/survivors to come on as guests and share their story publicly. It is so incredibly healing to talk about
experiences and then have them be validated. The show is aired live on www.kctu.com, usually every third Thursday of the month, 7:00 p.m. central time, people from all over the world can view the show and
call in toll free. Febuary 15th will be the next show and I will be talking about this bill and what we, as Kansas citizen
need to do to get it passed into law.
It is vital for HB2206 to be heard by the Federal and State Affairs Commitee
and eventually made into law so that when clergy does overstep the appropriate boundaries there can be justice for the victim
in Kansas Courts, you don't have to be Catholic to know the church does not provide justice for victims.
you for your consideration and I would like to know your position on this bill.
Extending the statute of limitations
STATE OF KANSAS: ECONOMIC ANALYSIS--CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT
The above cost
analysis was taken in part from the Economics and Data Analysis
Center of the Children=s Safety Network. The center helps public health
assess injury-related problems and risks, set priorities, analyze legislation and
advocate for improvements, and evaluate injury prevention programs. The center's analyses
are frequently used to shape policy and legislation at federal and state levels.
This information is based on the actual number of child abuse and neglect cases that
were worked in the state of Kansas in the year 1996 and has been updated using the
consumer price index to reflect 2005 dollars. In no way does this include the abused and
neglected children who are UNREPORTED. Several estimates show that as few as 1 in
5cases are reported. To give you
just a sampling of current abuse cases reported:
Health Center of East Central Kansas, serving 7 counties, reported 1,765
open/active cases, both adult
and children, in August, 2005. Of these, 710 (over 40%)
were being treated for abuse-related issues. You
can find out what the figures are for
your constituents by contacting the mental health centers serving
The Mental Health Center of East Central Kansas, serving 7 counties, reported 1,765
open/active cases, both adult and children, in August, 2005. Of these, 710 (over 40%)
being treated for abuse-related issues. You can find out what the figures are for
your constituents by
contacting the mental health centers serving your area.
REPORTED CASES OF CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT IN
2003 PER 1000 CHILDREN (see
appendix C for figures of all 105 Kansas counties)(see appendix
C for figures of all 105 Kansas counties)
Total number of children
in Kansas in 2002 under age 18 as cited by the Child Welfare
TYPE OF SERVICE COSTwww.cwla.org. 714,000
Kansas average reported cases
child abuse/neglect in 2003 according to Kansas Action for
SERVICE COSTchild abuse/neglect in 2003 according to Kansas Action for
Children-member of National Association Child Advocates: 59.8children/1000.
TYPE OF SERVICE COST
Medical Spending $ 2,916,000.00
Mental Health $ 23,159,000.00Victim Work/School Loss $ 21,780,000.00
Public Programs $9,087,000.00
Property Damage $ 60,000.00
Total Monetary $ 57,002,000.00
Quality of Life $ 381,150,000.00