The Brother Who Fleeced His Flock

Oct 9, 2009 - by J. Patrick O'Connor - 0 Comments

For years, the Catholic brother in charge of a Kansas City home for developmentally disabled men had embezzled his way to a fortune. When the board of directors found out, its cover-up – with the help of The Kansas City Star – was as bold as the theft.

 by J. Patrick O'Connor

This is a story of how a Catholic brother embezzled up to $500,000 or more from the Community of the Good Shepherd, was eventually caught red-handed and then allowed to go scot free; a story the silk-stocking Board of Directors of the Community of the Good Shepherd covered up for more than two years through stonewalling, arrogance and threats of reprisal; a story The Kansas City Star had dropped in its lap, assigned a reporter to and then would not publish. It is a story of a crime that would have gone unpunished if not for the dogged determination of one person whom the Good Shepherd Board could not shut up: Richard Bowman.

Good Shepherd is a private, charitable organization located on James A. Reed Road in Kansas City that provides comprehensive care and housing for 30 developmentally disabled men ranging in age from their early 20s to their late 60s. It is licensed by the State of Missouri's Department of Mental Health which has placed 22 of the current residents there; the other eight are private placements. Richard Bowman's younger brother, Mike, who is 37, is one of the residents and has been since he was l6. Mike has Downs Syndrome and is severely autistic. He has no speech and no fine motor skills – his disability is total.

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