SNAP, or the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, called a press conference Tuesday, saying another person claims he’s a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests. Joseph Eldred says he was abused while a parishioner at the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Independence, Mo. between the ages of nine and twelve. He names the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph in a lawsuit along with three priests.
“I had repressed memories and they didn’t really surface until earlier this year,” Joseph Eldred says during Tuesday’s SNAP news conference.
He claims he was abused by three priests including Father Mark Honhart, Father Thomas Reardon, and Monsignor Thomas O’Brien. The lawsuit alleges the Diocese covered up abuse by these three priests, many other lawsuits filed this year also say Bishop Robert Finn covered up abuse, but not everyone believes that.
“Anyone that puts a child through something like that or supports anything like that should absolutely be brought to justice and throw away the key, but Bishop Finn is not one of them,” says Katy Christy, an active member of the Catholic faith.
Katy Christy went to school with Eldred. Tuesday she stands to the side, praying the rosary in support of victims, the Bishop and all priests.
“People are giving them the reputation of being child abusers and they shouldn’t have to suffer through that all the time. They need our prayers,” says Christy.
Eldred says his healing process is just getting started.
“Empowered. I’ve got a voice, and very glad to be using it,” he says.
While he’s using his voice now, the Diocese says this is the first they’ve heard of Joseph Eldred’s story of abuse. Supporters of the Church and victims hope it’s the last of its kind.
The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph says they didn’t have a claim against Father Honhart until March 2011, and by that time he was working in Pennsylvania. Tuesday, the Diocese was dropped from that lawsuit, which alleged it covered up abuse by the priest.Father Honhart also worked in the Albuquerque, New Mexico area. The Diocese there told Fox 4, there was never a complaint against Honhart.
Eldred’s lawsuit against the Diocese and three priests hasn’t been given to the Diocese, so they won’t comment on it.
To see the statements from the Diocese and SNAP click here
To read a letter taking aim at SNAP click here.