Diocese Releases Name of Another Priest

Associated Press
December 3, 2003

The Catholic Diocese of Spokane on Wednesday released the name of another deceased priest who has been accused of child sexual abuse.

The late Joseph Knecht has been credibly accused of acts of sexual abuse against a boy, according to Bishop William Skylstad.

"The accusation against Knecht, which was recently reported to attorneys for the diocese, involves acts which occurred 58 years ago," the diocese said in a news release. "The evidence was credible that Knecht engaged in inappropriate activity involving an adolescent boy."

The boy was not identified in the release.

Knecht was a priest in the Spokane Diocese from 1932 to 1956. He served at St. Augustine in Spokane from October 1932 to November 1933; in Waterville from November 1933 to September 1937; and in Chewelah from 1937 until his death in 1956, at age 56.

Skylstad has decided to release the names of accused deceased priests, on a case-by-case basis.

The key is whether the lay Diocesan Review Board "accepts the veracity of the charge and believes others might come forward upon hearing the name of the accused priest," Skylstad said.

"We will err on the side of ensuring that possible victims are encouraged to come forward and hopefully begin a process of healing," the bishop said.

The diocese previously made public the names of seven living priests accused of sexual misconduct, and the name of one deceased priest.

The diocese has reached settlements with victims in two cases.

The Spokane chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests contends that as many as 35 Roman Catholic priests have molested children in Eastern Washington over the years.

In September, the Spokane Diocese said there was credible evidence the Rev. Joseph Pineau was involved in an incident of sexual misconduct 36 years ago. Pineau was a priest in the Spokane Diocese from 1932 until his retirement in 1968. He died in 1982 at the age of 83.


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