|Lawsuit Accuses Former Kc Priests
By Judy L. Thomas
Kansas City Star
March 8, 2011
A lawsuit filed today against two former Kansas City priests claims that one repeatedly molested a young boy in the 1980s and another abused the same boy several years later.
The lawsuit, filed in Jackson County Circuit Court by an unnamed 37-year-old Missouri man, was announced at a news conference by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
The suit also names the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph as a defendant, saying church officials knew or should have known that the priests were engaging in sexual misconduct but failed to prevent them from having access to children.
The lawsuit — the fourth against the diocese and its priests in the past five months — alleges that the Rev. Mark Honhart molested an 8- to 9-year-old boy at Holy Cross Parish in the 1980s and that the Rev. Hugh Monahan later molested the boy when he was 13.
The suit says the abuse began when the boy was fined $15 for chewing gum at school. His parents made a deal with the school for him to work off the fine, the suit says, and Honhart assigned him to clean windows and bathrooms.
Monahan was ordained in 1968 and was a priest at 10 Roman Catholic parishes in the Kansas City area until 1989, when the diocese said he left Kansas City and the priesthood. He has been accused in several other lawsuits of sexually abusing boys in the 1970s and 1980s, and six complaints against him were settled in 2008.
Honhart, ordained in 1980, worked in six parishes in the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese from 1980 to 2001. He is now serving in the Diocese of Scranton in Pennsylvania, the diocese said.
In a written response Tuesday, the diocese said that individuals approached the church in 1990, 1999 and 2002 claiming that Monahan had sexually abused them in the mid-1970s and 1980s.
“In each situation, the diocese offered counseling and told the persons making the complaints that they were free to make a report to law enforcement agencies,” the diocese said. “Since these accusations came to light, the diocese has never been able to contact Monahan to question him, and his whereabouts remain unknown.”
Of Honhart, the diocese said: “During Father Honhart’s ministry in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, there were no complaints of sexual misconduct brought to the attention of his superiors.”
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