Courts & Crime

Sex abuse memory haunts Kansas City man for decades

The four boys left first-hour class early and headed over to church.

For the next hour they would be serving morning Mass at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church in Independence — an honorable assignment that filled their parents with pride.

The boys wanted everything to be just right.

They dutifully pulled the paper-thin communion wafers from the refrigerator and arranged them in a brass bowl, poured the red wine into crystal pitchers and draped the cloth over a large gold chalice.

They worked in silence, their motions second nature by this time.

Then footsteps, dress shoes clacking down the stairs leading to the sacristy.

Monsignor walked in, dressed in his usual black pants and shirt, clerical collar and dark cardigan. Without a word, he closed the door and kicked a wooden wedge underneath.

Jon David Couzens, a sixth-grader and the youngest of the four, got a knot in his stomach.

What he says happened next has haunted him for decades.

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