Editorial: Springfield diocese must do better in response to sexual misconduct

The Daily Hampshire Gazette

March 21, 2018

When the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield reached a settlement with Richard Koske in 2013 after he described sexual abuse by a former Northampton priest years earlier, it could have remained just another “personnel matter” kept behind closed doors.

In fact, that’s how the diocese treated the incident until Koske, 62, of South Hadley, went public this month, detailing his story of sexual abuse at the hands of retired priest Eugene Honan in the rectory of St. Mary’s Church in Northampton during the mid-1990s.

While the $20,000 settlement may have given Koske a sign that the diocese acknowledged wrongdoing, he was disturbed to learn over the course of several agonizing years how the church dealt with Honan. We also find it troubling.

A devout Catholic who had known Honan since he was a teenager, Koske first told the diocese in 2006 about the sexual abuse involving Honan. Five years later, Koske went to the diocese again after attending services at St. Patrick’s Church in South Hadley and seeing Honan at the altar.

In 2011, a Diocesan Review Board found Koske’s report of abuse credible and the matter was referred to a district attorney’s office. At the time, Honan, who retired in 2010, was already out of regular, full-time ministry. Koske said he was told of a confession by Honan in 2011 and understood that the priest was going to be moved out of state for a month while the diocese decided what to do.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.