In the group's U.S. district, however, a number of abuse allegations have surfaced in relation to the large SSPX community at St. Mary's, Kansas, which includes the society's K-12 school, as have several allegations that priests engaged in cover-ups of abuse by priests or attendees of SSPX chapels.
In 2019, the Kansas Bureau of Investigations (KBI) announced it would investigate clerical sexual misconduct in four Catholic dioceses in the state; the investigation was subsequently expanded to include the SSPX.
In May, a spokesperson for the KBI told CNA the investigation is "ongoing" and that as of February 1, the bureau had 186 reports of abuse and had opened 112 investigations. KBI did not say how many of the investigations pertained to the SSPX.
In addition to the Kansas City Star, the weekend email from Gardner was reported on the Church Militant website. Gardner's statement said of that report that "Church Militant has once again tried to wring fake news out of an internal email by falsifying the context."
Gardner's statement did not address the Kansas City Star, or indicate whether he perceived that newspaper as well to be reporting "fake news."
The priest did say that the SSPX is "making any priest, employee, or agent" available to the KBI "without the need for a subpoena."
Gardner said in his correspondence that he has "no indication that the KBI has been intimidating" anyone, but added that "our legal system is adversarial" and thus it is "common sense for the Society to protect itself and its priests and employees by having its attorney present at an interview with law enforcement."
"I hope that anyone with evidence of abuse will go freely to the KBI or other appropriate authorities," he said.
KBI has said that it is accepting reports of abuse by phone at 1-800-KS-CRIME, or by email. [email protected]