Lawsuit accuses late Kansas City priest of sexual abuse in 1952

Friday, March 7, 2008

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 71-year-old suburban Kansas City woman has filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph claiming that a priest had sex with her for about two years when she was a teenager.

In her lawsuit filed Thursday, Katherine Goodnow, of Lenexa, Kan., accused the priest, John C. Baskett, who retired in 1975 and died in 1995, of first assaulting her in a car when she was 15 and he was 35.

Baskett is not a defendant in the case. Goodnow is seeking for unspecified actual and punitive damages.

Goodnow, a member of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, says in the lawsuit that she passed out after the party in 1952 and awoke naked in the car. She said Baskett was crying.

Baskett, who worked at St. James Church in Kansas City, took Goodnow to movies and basketball games, bought her ice cream and had sex with her for about two years, according to the lawsuit.

Goodnow said she didn't come forward earlier partly because she was embarrassed.

"I believed for a very long time that man loved me, and nobody likes playing the fool," she said. "He said God had chosen me but the relationship must always be silent. I bought it hook, line and sinker."

After she had encouraged others to come forward, she said she felt she needed to speak out herself.

Rebecca Summers, a spokeswoman for the diocese, said she had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment on it. Summers called child sexual abuse a sin and said the diocese urges any person abused by a priest or church employee to come forward for help and healing assistance.

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Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com

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