Diocese Releases More Details of Priest Accused of Sex Misconduct

Times Leader
March 11, 2011

The diocese of Scranton has released more details about the handling of The Rev. Mark Honhart following the filing of a lawsuit in Kansas alleging sexual misconduct there.

The diocese had released a briefer statement Tuesday noting Honhart, ordained in the Diocese of Kansas City -St. Joseph, had been accused n a civil suit filed there of abuse by a a person identified only as John Doe. The lawsuit claims Honhart was one of two priests in the Kansas diocese who abused the plaintiff in the 1980s.

Honhart had requested permission to serve in the Diocese of Scranton in 2003 after family relocated here, and was assigned to several parishes in the 11-county diocese since then.

Tuesday's statement said Honhart had been removed from ministry immediately after the diocese learned of the allegations and that public authorities were notified, as required by diocesan policy.

The new statement offers more details of how the diocese handled the case. Here's the full posting from the Diocese of Scranton Website:

On February 2, 2011, the Diocese of Scranton received an allegation that Fr. Mark Honhart, while he was serving in the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph in the 1980s, had committed an act of sexual misconduct.

In response to the allegation, the Diocese at once initiated the following:

* Fr. Honhart was immediately removed from his assigned parish, St. Katharine Drexel;

* Fr. Honhart was immediately placed in a treatment facility where he would be monitored and where he could not pose a threat to others or to himself;

* Diocesan Officials informed the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph of the allegation, which occurred during a time when Fr. Mark Honhart served as a priest within their jurisdiction, so that an investigation into the allegation made could ensue; and

* Diocesan Officials informed local law enforcement of the allegation.

With regard to Fr. Honhartís history with the Diocese of Scranton:

* In 1980, Fr. Honhart was ordained in the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph, Missouri.

* In 2003, after members of his family relocated to Pennsylvania, Fr. Honhart requested to serve in the Diocese of Scranton.

* In reviewing his request, the Diocese of Scranton questioned the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph about Fr. Honhartís status. With no complaints or concerns brought to the Dioceseís attention, Fr. Honhartís request to serve in the Diocese of Scranton was granted.

* Beginning in July 2004, Fr. Honhart served as assistant pastor of St. Rose of Lima, Carbondale; administrator of St. Anthony, St. Bridget, and St. John the Baptist, Throop; administrator of Our Lady Help of Christians, Dorrance; assistant pastor of Sacred Heart and St. Joseph, Forest City (now Ascension Parish); and St. James, Pleasant Mount, and St. Julianna, Rock Lake (now St. Katharine Drexel Parish).

With regard to the current status of this allegation and the intent of the Diocese of Scranton:

* Without delay, the Diocese took action in response to the allegation by removing the alleged perpetrator, placing him in a secure environment and reporting the allegation so that an appropriate investigation would ensue.

* Fr. Honhart has been removed from public ministry and will remain in a secure setting until a disposition regarding the allegation is reached.

* Since February 2, 2011, the Diocese of Scranton has committed to working with the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph and any entity involved in the investigation of this allegation.

* On Monday, March 7, 2011, the Diocese of Scranton was notified by the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph that a lawsuit was to be filed by an individual under the pseudonym, John Doe J.D. The unnamed individual claims to have been abused in the 1980s by two former priests of the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph, including Fr. Hugh Monahan and Fr. Mark Honhart.

* The Diocese of Scranton is committed to providing a safe environment for children and youth by creating and cultivating healthy and nurturing environments for its people at every age and every stage of life. In doing so, the Diocese will take swift action when responding to all allegations of abuse.


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