Bishop Hanefeldt has learned today, January 2, 2019, that Fr. John Kakkuzhiyil, a priest of the Diocese of Grand Island, has been placed under arrest by the Nebraska State Patrol in Grand Island and charged with first-degree sexual assault of an adult.
Most recently Fr. Kakkuzhiyil served as pastor of our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Ord and Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Burwell. On December 1, 2018, Bishop Hanefeldt offered Mass in Ord and Burwell asking the parishioners to pray for Father Kakkuzhiyil for his continuing struggles with depression and alcoholism.
On December 6, 2018 Fr. Kakkuzhiyil entered the CHI St. Francis Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program and was dismissed from there on January 2, 2019.
When Bishop Hanefeldt learned there was an ongoing investigation by the Nebraska State Patrol regarding Fr. Kakkuzhiyil, he placed Fr. Kakkuzhiyil on administrative leave December 15, 2018. Pending the outcome of the investigation and treatment, the administrative leave remains in effect.
Bishop Hanefeldt asks for your prayers for all who are involved in this matter and in the investigation.
Today the Archdiocese of Omaha published a list of clergy against whom allegations of the sexual abuse of minors have been substantiated. This news brings sadness and pain to all people of good will. May it also strengthen our commitment to seek justice for all and deepen our personal conversion to the Gospel.
In the Diocese of Grand Island, we are wrapping up the review of all clergy files of those who are active and retired, as well as those who are deceased. When this review is completed a determination will be made with regard to a similar publication of any substantiated claims against clergy in the Diocese of Grand Island regarding the abuse of minors.
Seeking justice and providing healing for victims of all abuse, including the devastating abuse of minors by clergy, is an ongoing ministry of the Church. If you or someone you know has experienced abuse or unwelcome contact of a sexual nature by anyone who represents the Church, please contact, the Victim Assistance Coordinator for the Diocese of Grand Island by calling 1-800-652-2229. Whenever this abuse involves a minor please first report it either to law enforcement, the Nebraska State Patrol or the Nebraska Child Abuse Reporting Hotline by calling 1-800-652-1999.
Together, let us renew healing and hope through justice and compassion.
Statement from Bishop Joseph G. Hanefeldt,
supporting Cardinal DiNardo’s calls for an investigation of the testimony of Archbishop Vigano regarding Archbishop McCarrick
September 4, 2018
The crimes of sexual abuse by the clergy and the cover-up that followed has destroyed so many innocent lives and profoundly wounded the people of God, who so deeply love their Catholic faith.
Following upon both the accusations of the abuse committed by Archbishop McCarrick and the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report, new questions have been raised in recent days by the former Papal Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, implicating others in Church leadership in connection with Archbishop McCarrick. Because Archbishop Viganò held a unique and important position of leadership serving the Church in our country, the questions raised in his statement must be taken seriously.
August 17, 2018
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
This past week I was sickened to learn about the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report detailing the sexual abuse of children by priests across Pennsylvania over the past 70 years. Particularly devastating was the finding that bishops and other church leaders had covered up these crimes instead of reporting them.
I am deeply ashamed that those in positions of authority have acted in this way. Sexual abuse is about the most extreme violation that anyone could inflict upon another person. For a priest or bishop to do so is unspeakable. In the case of former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the one entrusted to ensure the safety of others, was himself the problem.
This evil needs to be cast out of our church. I am committed to act upon any report of sexual abuse and misconduct by a member of the clergy or Parish staff member that I receive as bishop of this diocese.