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Third Lawsuit Filed Against Former Kansas City Priest

Sep 19, 2003 | AP

A third lawsuit has been filed against a former Kansas City priest, this time by his nephew.

Christopher Biersmith, 38, who now lives in Massachusetts, claims that Hugh F. Monahan raped and sodomized him for five years, beginning when Biersmith was 11. His family attended St. Peter's Church, one of nine Kansas City parishes where Monahan served over a 20-year period ending in 1989.

Two other sexual abuse lawsuits were filed earlier this month against Monahan, the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Bishop Raymond Boland and Vicar General Patrick Rush. Boland, Rush and the diocese are accused of concealing the abuse and later refusing to pay for Biersmith's counseling.

In a statement Thursday, Rush said two brothers contacted the diocese in 1999 and said Monahan, their maternal uncle, abused them in the 1970s when their parents were going through a divorce.

"Pursuant to its policy, the diocese offered and the brothers accepted, psychological counseling," Rush said. "The diocese informed both men that they were free to share their stories with criminal authorities or the media."

Rush did not respond to Biersmith's allegation that the diocese agreed to provide him a therapist in 1999, but then refused to pay after 12 sessions. Biersmith accused the diocese of "fraudulent misrepresentations."

Like Biersmith, DLB claims that the diocese offered to pay for mental health counseling, but reneged after 12 treatments.

Rush said Biersmith and his brother began spending more time with Monahan at the request of their mother, Monahan's sister during the divorce period. But Randles said the abuse began at least two years prior to that.

The lawsuit said Monahan made sexual contact a condition upon which he would provide care and spiritual guidance.

"Defendant Monahan silences the children he abused by making them live in secret shame, fear and degradation while ministering to them psychologically, emotionally and spiritually," the lawsuit said.

Monahan was ordained as a priest in 1968 and served at various levels in nine different parishes. He left the priesthood in 1989, Rush said.

Records indicate Monahan lives in Puerto Rico, but no phone number is available for him. Rush said the diocese first learned of sexual abuse allegations in 1990 and tried to contact Monahan, but could not find him.

All three lawsuits seek a jury trial to determine the amount of unspecified damages.

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