Where the rubber hits the road.
The Joe Hanoski Case:
Some questions still need answers. If the civil suit launched by Joe Hanoski is settled what has it cost the Diocese of Kingston?
by Tom Thorne
One of the most read set of articles on this blog are the Joe Hanoski series that I wrote in 2012. These articles concern an alleged sexual abuse of Joe Hanoski by Father Paul Hamilton. Another priest, Father Michael Reed is also mentioned in the Hanoski civil suit. Both Fathers Hamilton and Reed remain on the books of the Diocese of Kingston at this time.
Even after two years these stories continue to be accessed all the time. There is a pent up interest concerning the outcome of this civil case and at the moment we do not know that outcome because it can be settled out of court. Silence by both Joe Hanoski and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kingston Ontario can be a provision of the settlement agreement. If that is true then this case remains an enigma.
In the case of retired priest Rene Labelle, also of the Kingston Roman Catholic Diocese, criminal charges were laid by the police and Crown and by January 2014, and after a very public trial offering details of the sexual assault, interference and exploitation Labelle was sentenced to 16 months in jail to be followed by 30 months of probation and counselling. A very public process. Currently Father Labelle is still listed as a priest by the Diocese of Kingston, in care of the Catholic Pastoral Centre in Kingston, Ontario.
The Joe Hanoski case is very different. Hanoski brought a civil suit rather than a criminal charge against father Paul Hamilton. The action was also registered against theRoman Catholic Diocese of Kingston. Also mentioned in this case was Father Michael Reed. Father Hamilton was abruptly removed eight years before this suit was launched and sat in a limbo for almost a decade with no charges and no action on the part of the police or the Crown that I am aware of. Father Michael Reed was removed from his parish when Hanoski launched his civil suit.
Currently Father Paul Hamilton remains on the books of the Archdiocese of Kingston. He seems to remain in limbo at the Catholic Pastoral Centre. Father Michael Reed at the moment can be reached according to the Diocese website, through Blessed Sacrament Parish in Amherstview, Ontario where the pastor is Father Stan Alanen. A look at the parish website reveals no mention of Father Reed. Why is he listed at this parish in the Diocese website list of priests? Does he have duties at this parish?
It seems that the Diocese of Kingston uses the Catholic Pastoral Centre as a place where priests languish when they are taken from their parishes. It also seems that when charges cannot be established beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal court alleged victims resort to a civil action to get justice.
As a member of a parish that is part of the Diocese of Kingston the silence about the Hanoski civil suit is irritating. Either the case is sitting in some kind of legal logjam or it is settled. If the civil suit was settled, then funds from the Diocese of Kingston or from some insurance company were used to get a settlement.
Civil suits are not launched for esoteric reasons. There has to be a dollar value placed on the case. In addition, there are the legal costs for Hanoski’s lawyers and the lawyers for the Diocese of Kingston that have to be accounted for in any settlement.
In this case Hanoski sued for an alleged $3.5 million dollars. There simply needs to be a transparent accounting of these costs by the Diocese including the legal costs on top of the settlement for defending the diocese’s liability for priests in this kind of trouble.
© Copyright Tom Thorne 2014, All Rights Reserved.