Educating To End Abuse

Kansas Legislation + Cost of Abuse

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Kansas House Bill 2100, which would add clergy to Kansas's 'Unlawful Sexual Relations' statute is supported by the
Kansas NOW Chapter  
(National Organization of Women)

HB2206 Clergy on Fiduciary Duty Laws

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, 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.

Thanks you for your consideration and I would like to know your position on this bill.


Mrs. Peggy Warren

Extending the statute of limitations



The above cost analysis was taken in part from the Economics and Data Analysis

Resource Center of the Children=s Safety Network. The center helps public health

professionals 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 5

cases are reported. To give you just a sampling of current abuse cases reported:

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%)

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 your area.

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%)

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 your area.


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


Kansas average reported cases child abuse/neglect in 2003 according to Kansas Action for


child abuse/neglect in 2003 according to Kansas Action for

Children-member of National Association Child Advocates: 59.8children/1000.


Medical Spending $ 2,916,000.00

Mental Health $ 23,159,000.00

Victim 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

Total Comprehensive $ 438,152,000.00