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Two Men File Suit Against Diocese, Former Priest For Sexual Abuse

Sep 5, 2003 | AP

Two men are suing the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese, a bishop and two priests for sexual abuse they say they suffered more than two decades ago.

An attorney for Kenneth Landes and a second man identified only by the initials DLB said Thursday she expects to file more lawsuits against former Kansas City priest Hugh Monahan and others, possibly in the fall.

Landes, of California, claims he was sexually molested by Monahan between 1982 and 1987. DLB, who still lives in the Kansas City area, says he was molested between 1975 and 1979.

The lawsuit filed Thursday in Jackson County Circuit Court claims the diocese knew Monahan was abusing children and transferred him to several parishes during his 20 years with the diocese because of the misconduct.

Monahan served in eight parishes within the diocese between 1969 and 1989, said Rebecca M. Randles, a Kansas City attorney who filed the suits.

"We have information that leads us to believe there was knowledge by the diocese," Randles said. "Most priests stay in the same area and are not moved around so much."

DLB's suit alleges that the diocese agreed to pay for mental health counseling after he took his claims to a diocese review board in 1999, then reneged after 12 sessions between DLB and a psychologist referred to him by the diocese.

DLB was 11 when the abuse began, and Landes was 15, according to the lawsuits. Both men are seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

Named in the lawsuits are the diocese, Monahan, the Rev. Patrick Rush and Bishop Raymond J. Boland.

Monahan left the diocese and the priesthood in 1989. He is believed to be living in Boca Raton, Fla., but lawyers and the diocese said they have not been able to track him down.

Rush, vicar general of the diocese, said the diocese first received sexual abuse allegations from Landes' family in November 1990, the year after Monahan left. At that time, Rush said, Landes was not willing to communicate with the diocese.

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