|Accused Area Priest Removed from Ministry
By Matt Hughes
March 9, 2011
The Diocese of Scranton said in a statement on its website Tuesday that in February it removed from ministry a priest accused in a Missouri lawsuit of molestating of a young boy in the 1980s.
The priest, the Rev. Mark Honhart, served at multiple parishes across Northeastern Pennsylvania for seven years, the diocese said.
The lawsuit was filed in Missouri's Jackson County Court on Tuesday by an individual under the pseudonym John Doe, who claims Honhart molested him over a period of four years beginning when he was 8 or 9 years old, according to a report by KCTV News 5 in Kansas City.
The unnamed individual claims to have been abused in the 1980s by the Rev. Hugh Monahan and Honhart, two former priests of the Diocese of Kansas City, St. Joseph, Mo.
Monahan has been named in other lawsuits alleging sexual abuse in the past, including a suit settled in 2008 in which 12 Kansas City Diocese priests were sued by 47 individuals claiming abuse.
The Scranton Diocese said in its statement that it immediately removed Honhart after receiving an allegation that Honhart, while serving in the Kansas City Diocese, committed an act of sexual misconduct. It then informed the Kansas City Diocese and local public authorities of the allegation, the diocese reported.
The diocese said that beginning in July 2004, Honhart served as assistant pastor of St. Rose of Lima, Carbondale; administrator of St. Anthony, St. Bridget, and St. John the Baptist, Throop; as administrator of Our Lady Help of Christians, Dorrance; and as assistant pastor of Sacred Heart and St. Joseph, Forest City, St. James, Pleasant Mount, and St. Julianna, Rock Lake.
The diocese said Honhart requested to be transferred to the area in 2003 after his mother and sister relocated to the area. In reviewing his request, no complaints or concerns were brought to the Diocese of Scranton's attention and Honhart's request was granted, the diocese stated.
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