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Archive for Friday, October 3, 2003

Priest in prostitution sting returns to duty

October 3, 2003

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— A Roman Catholic priest who was caught in a Kansas City-area prostitution sting has returned to duty.

The operation, which occurred in June, focused on escort services and involved 20 law enforcement agencies in Kansas and Missouri -- the largest local sting of its kind. About 100 people were arrested, according to Kansas City police, who coordinated the effort.

Among those charged was the Rev. Vincent Rogers, pastor of St. James Catholic Church in St. Joseph, who was found guilty of patronizing prostitution and sentenced to two years' probation. He entered an Alford plea, which means he did not admit guilt but conceded there was enough evidence to convict him.

Rogers, 36, was reinstated Wednesday as pastor of St. James by Bishop Raymond Boland of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

"Now that he has satisfactorily completed the requested psychosexual evaluations, and in response to the expressed request of many of his parishioners and parish organizations, Father Vincent Rogers will resume his pastorate," Boland said.

Several parents dropping off their children at the church's preschool Wednesday said they were pleased with the reinstatement.

"I'm glad he's back," said Cheryl Koch. "He's a good priest. He's good with the kids."

Special conditions of Rogers' probation included undergoing testing for sexually transmitted diseases, obtaining counseling and performing 40 hours of community service.

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