by Jessica Langdon
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The Wyandotte County district attorney has charged a former employee of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas with three counts of felony theft — totaling more than $116,000 from the archdiocese — according to a press release from the district attorney’s office.
Rose A. Hammes, 52, surrendered herself on March 16 to the Wyandotte County sheriff.
According to the district attorney’s office, the thefts took place between 2010 and 2014, during Hammes’ employment as the director of communications and planning for the archdiocese.
Hammes started her employment as archdiocesan director of communications and pastoral planning in September 2010, and her employment ended in April 2014.
The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas notified the Wyandotte County district attorney’s office in 2014 after discovering financial irregularities in April 2014.
The archdiocese contacted law enforcement because it believed it was the victim of fraud and had suffered a substantial loss — more than $100,000.
The district attorney asked the Kansas City Kansas Police Department to investigate.
“The archdiocese remains in full cooperation with law enforcement authorities as this case moves forward,” said Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann.
The archdiocese hoped to recover its loss through insurance.
“The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas takes seriously its responsibility to safeguard the church’s assets,” said Carla Mills, chief financial officer for the archdiocese. “We continuously review internal controls in an attempt to strengthen safeguards against any breach of trust.”
Two of the counts are level nine felonies — punishable if convicted by up to 17 months in prison — because their dates are prior to July 1, 2011, when the Kansas theft statue changed. The third count followed that date and is a level five felony, punishable if a person is convicted by up to slightly more than 11 years in prison, according to the district attorney’s office.
Hammes was held in the Wyandotte County Jail following her surrender and was released on March 23 after bond was posted.
Archbishop Naumann encouraged Catholics of the archdiocese to pray for the parties in the case.
He also encouraged patience as the case moves through the legal process.