In a notice filed today in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Glenna McKitterick, Branson, dismissed her wrongful firing/sexual harassment lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church and Our Lady of the Ozarks Catholic Church.
The case was dismissed with prejudice, meaning she cannot file it again.
As The Turner Report revealed exclusively in an April 4 post,the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau paid $50,000 to Ms. McKitterick.
Documents filed April 4 in federal court indicate the payment was made to Ms. McKitterick following a Jan. 9 session in which Joplin attorney Ron Mitchell served as mediator.
In Ms. McKitterick's lawsuit, filed in June 2005, she alleged she was fired by the church after she rejected the sexual advances of Father Phillip Bucher. Those named in the lawsuit were Bucher, Bishop John J. Liebrecht, Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church, and Our Lady of the Ozarks Catholic Church.
In the April 4 filing, the church said Ms. McKitterick had not lived up to the agreement because at that point she had dismissed the cases against Bucher and Liebrecht, but not against the church as she had agreed to do.
Ms. McKitterick was sole proprietor of Discipleship Ministry Resources when she was hired by the church on July 1, 2002 for a two-year term as a pastoral associate, according to her lawsuit. Her responsibilities, she said, were training coordination "for an evangelization program and model for the church and its parishes." Bucher was the pastor of Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church and served as Bishop Liebrecht's vicar general.
Shortly after her employment, Ms. McKitterick claims, she began having to fend off Bucher's unwelcome advances, which included"
-"Unwelcome questioning by Bucher about plaintiff's personal sex life and her intimate sexual likes and dislikes.
-"Bucher's regular recounting to plaintiffs of his own personal sex life and details of his intimate sexual likes and dislikes, including his sexual dislikes with his then 'girlfriend,' (whose name is given in the lawsuit, but which is not going to be listed here).
-"Plaintiff being 'hushed' during business meetings in the parish offices, so plaintiff would not be overheard by Bucher's girlfriend when Bucher and the girlfriend were talking on the telephone.
-"Plaintiff being invited to 'business' dinners with Bucher, which he began conducting like personal dates.
-"Plaintiff being subjected to Bucher's unwelcome comments about his personal preferences 'as a man' regarding plaintiff's makeup, etc., to which plaintiff objected.
-"Numerous uncomfortable private 'hugs' by Bucher which he defended as 'pastoral' and which he repeatedly attempted even after being rebuked by plaintiff.
-"Regular telephone calls by Bucher to plaintiff at her home in the evening about personal matters.
-"Regular romantic and sexually suggestive remarks and advances by Bucher."
Ms. McKitterick says Bucher's actions created "a hostile work environment."
She claims that Liebrecht and other church officials had been warned about Bucher's problem and they should have known he was likely to sexually harass her.
Ms. McKitterick was fired after she made a written complaint against Bucher in a letter dated Jan. 12, 2004, one of a series she had made, according to the lawsuit.
After the Jan. 12 letter, she received a call from the church's lawyer who said, "Bucher has terminated you." Her last day of work was Jan. 16, 2004, five and a half months before the end of her contract. The firing, she said, "was retaliation against plaintiff for her reporting and complaining about the sexual harassment and hostile work environment."
Ms. McKitterick sued the church officials for misrepresentation, saying they had told her that "if she became employed by the church, Bucher would not sexually harass her nor would he create a hostile work environment for her."