SHAWNEE, Kan. — A woman contends in a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas that a school principal filed a false child abuse complaint in retaliation for her complaining that her daughter was being bullied at a diocesan school.
Melissa Schroeder of Shawnee also named Sacred Heart Catholic Church and its school principal, Maureen Engen, in a lawsuit filed in May in Johnson County District Court. She contends her daughter began suffering migraine headaches and other health issues in April 2014 because of the bullying at the school and her requests for help were ignored by school officials. Instead, Schroeder contends, Engen made a hotline call to the Kansas Department of Children and Families alleging that Schroeder was abusing and neglecting her daughter. The agency’s subsequent investigation found nothing to substantiate the allegations, The Kansas City Star reported.
“What happened to her was appalling,” said Schroeder’s attorney, Sarah Brown. “This is about a mom trying to get the bullying to stop and then having the church retaliate against her.”
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for defamation, invasion of privacy and malicious prosecution.
A spokeswoman for the defendants provided a prepared statement to The Associated Press on Monday after confirming the archdiocese had received the lawsuit.
“The principals of Catholic schools in the archdiocese take the responsibility for safeguarding children very seriously and make every effort to follow the laws regarding mandated reporting of any suspected abuse,” the statement said. “While this case is in litigation, the archdiocese will not comment on the allegations made in the suit.”