Former local priest faces a second sex abuse lawsuit

The Kansas City Star/August 28, 2011

A second lawsuit was filed this week against a former Kansas City priest, claiming that he sexually abused a boy in the 1980s.

The suit, filed in Jackson County Circuit Court, alleges that the Rev. Mark Honhart molested the boy when he was 11 to 12 years old while the priest was assigned to Holy Cross school and parish.

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, was filed by a Missouri man under the name John Doe M.F. The suit also names the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph as a defendant, saying officials knew Honhart was engaging in sexual misconduct but concealed it.

“This cover-up allowed Honhart to access and sexually abuse numerous children, including the plaintiff,” the lawsuit says. “Plaintiff brings this lawsuit in order to hold the defendants responsible for the injuries they have caused and to protect other children from the pain of childhood sexual abuse.”

Honhart, ordained in 1980, worked in six parishes in the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese from 1980 to 2001. He most recently served in the Diocese of Scranton in Pennsylvania, but officials there said they removed him from ministry in February after receiving an allegation of sexual misconduct.

The Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese said in a statement this week that “during Father Honhart’s ministry in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, there were no complaints of sexual misconduct brought to the attention of his superiors.”

“The diocese has made known that it will respond to any report of misconduct or inappropriate behavior by clergy, employees or volunteers,” the statement said.

A lawsuit filed against Honhart in March alleged that the priest molested an 8- or 9-year-old boy at Holy Cross in the 1980s.

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