A Missouri man has filed a lawsuit against a Kansas City priest, who he said fathered a son with his wife.

A Missouri man has filed a lawsuit against a Kansas City priest, who he said fathered a son with his wife.

Rev. Joseph Matt, who now works at a church in Independence, is accused of having an affair with a man’s wife in 2004 and 2005 and that the woman became pregnant and had a son, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in Cass County Circuit Court.

Also named as a defendant is the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, which is accused of committing fraud by keeping silent about the sexual misconduct.

The plaintiff, who filed the lawsuit anonymously to protect the identity of the child, learned last September that the boy was not his biological son, the lawsuit says. The plaintiff, who filed the suit along with his three children, is seeking unspecified damages.

Matt is currently assigned to St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church in northeast Independence. He could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph said in a statement that in September 2010, the Diocese received a report from a man who reported that his wife had conceived a child a number of years ago with a diocesan priest, Matt.

The man said his wife had only recently shared this information with him and with the priest. Father Matt acknowledged the relationship soon after following a paternity test.

In October 2010, Bishop Robert Finn removed Father Matt from his ministerial assignment at St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Independence.

“In recognition of the hurt, the potential for scandal and my concern for all of the parties involved, I have relieved Fr. Matt from his duties as pastor until the matter can be further examined,” Bishop Finn wrote.

“The diocese has never denied the affair and, in fact, has provided media with the same statement it made to parishioners, according to the Dioese’s statement.

“The diocese did not furnish names or further details in this statement so as to safeguard the privacy of the child and the family.

“In February 2011, Bishop Finn came to an agreement with Father Matt about expectations for his return to ministry at St. Joseph the Worker, where he continues to serve. 

“Since 2004, Father Matt also has served as one of several members of the Diocesan Tribunal, a church court. Matters that come before the Diocesan Tribunal include marriage questions and others issues in the Church’s Canon Law.”