New Lawsuit Accuses Former Kc Priest of Abuse

By Judy L. Thomas
Kansas City Star
August 29, 2011

A lawsuit filed today alleges that a former Kansas City priest sexually abused a teenager more than 30 years ago and that the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese covered it up.

According to the lawsuit, the Rev. Hugh Monahan began abusing the plaintiff when he was assigned to St. Patrick Catholic Church in Holden, Mo., in the late 1970s. The suit alleges that the plaintiff told the diocese about the abuse in 1979 but the diocese took no action, resulting in the sexual abuse of at least five more victims.

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, names Monahan and the diocese as defendants. It was filed in Johnson County (Mo.) Circuit Court by a Missouri man using the name John Doe L.J.

The lawsuit, announced at a news conference of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the seventh to be filed against Monahan and the 12th to be filed this year against the diocese and its priests.

"This case exemplifies the necessity for victims to come forward and expose the long-standing pattern and practice of covering up child sexual abuse by this diocese," said Rebecca Randles, the attorney representing the plaintiff.

Randles said the plaintiff reported Monahan's behavior to the diocese in 1979.

"The diocese merely moved Father Monahan and allowed him to continue abusing boys…for the next ten or more years," she said. "Without the courage of these victims coming forward, these facts would have been forever buried in the archives of the Diocese."

Monahan is reportedly living out of the country and could not be reached for comment.

In a written response Monday, the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese said Monahan was ordained in 1968, served ten parish communities in the diocese and left the priesthood in 1989.

"Individuals approached the diocese in 1990, 1999, 2002 and 2011 and reported that Monahan had sexually abused them in the mid-1970s and 1980s," the diocese said. "The diocese offered each person counseling and advised them of their right to make a report to law enforcement.

"Since those accusations came to light, the diocese has never been able to contact Monahan to question him, and despite efforts by private investigators, his whereabouts remain unknown. Six of these complaints were addressed and resolved in 2008 through a group settlement in Jackson County, Missouri. A March 2011 lawsuit filed on behalf of another unnamed individual is pending."

The diocese said the plaintiff's allegations that he reported the abuse to the diocese "are not consistent with facts based on actual priest personnel assignments."



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