|MCC Nun May Have Molested Student
Prosecution Not Likely in Old Case
By Jeff Schweers
Florida Today [Melbourne]
June 9, 2007
A Franciscan nun accused of molesting a Melbourne Central Catholic School student sometime between 1962 and 1971 has lost her job at a church in Seminole, but likely won't face prosecution because the allegation is so old.
The now-adult female victim, who was not identified, recently came forward with the claim that Sister Kathleen Francis Honc sexually abused her as a teen, said Carol Brinati, a spokeswoman for the Diocese of Orlando. The victim informed the Franciscan Sisters of Allegheny, N.Y.
The sisters investigated the allegation and determined it to be credible, Brinati said.
Honc, whom records show lives in Largo, could not be reached for comment.
Brinati refused to release any details about the allegation. The diocese said it had not filed a criminal complaint because the allegation was so old.
Unless the crime was a capital offense, the statute of limitations would likely have run out. It would only be a capital offense if the victim were younger than 12 at the time, said Lynn Bumpus-Hooper, spokeswoman for the state attorney's office. Otherwise the statute of limitations was seven years.
Melbourne defense lawyer Greg Eisenmenger also said there's a possibility that the alleged offense, which has not been disclosed, might not even have been recognized as a crime by the law at that time. Brinati said she could not release any information about the victim, other than that she'd been a student at MCC when the alleged incident occurred.
Honc taught at MCC from 1962 to 1971, then left the area. As required by policy when an allegation is deemed to be credible, Brinati said, the diocese issued a statement that was read to Brevard County parishioners from the pulpit on Sunday.
No one else has come forward since the allegations were made, Brinati said. The diocese will not be notifying others who were students at the time.
Honc was most recently pastoral assistant emeritus at St. Justin Marty Catholic Church in Seminole. A church secretary said Honc has not been with the church since Saturday.
The Catholic Church has become more open about disclosing allegations of sexual abuse by religious figures since the churchwide sexual abuse scandal of several years . The Diocese read a letter in February to Orlando parishioners about a former priest who allegedly abused children 30 years ago, Brinati said
This is the first claim of sexual abuse in the Catholic church in Brevard County since 1996, when Thomas Pagni was sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting three Rockledge boys during the early 1990s.
Contact Schweers at 242-3668 or email@example.com.
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