Clergy sex assault survivor readies for meeting with Diocesan Review Board
Richard Koske knows he won't get one of the things he wants most, when he meets Wednesday with the Diocesan Review Board:
Words from the priest he says drugged and assaulted him — an allegation the Springfield Diocese accepts as true.
Koske, 63, is scheduled to meet with the nine-member board that advises the diocese on clergy abuse matters, joined by his daughter and defender, Rebecca Koske.
The meeting comes eight years after Koske filed a complaint against the Rev. Eugene Honan. It comes six years after the diocese, having issued sanctions against Honan, paid Koske $20,000.
But Koske had never told his story directly to the review board. That time has come.
The South Hadley man says he will describe what happened in Honan's Northampton rectory when Koske was in his 40s. If Koske had his way, the panel would call Honan in as well.
"If the board wants to hear my story, don't they want to hear his?" he asked.
Before Koske accepted his settlement, he said he was urged by the diocese to halt communications with an attorney. Koske had been in contact with Mitchell Garabedian, the Boston lawyer who has represented scores of clergy abuse victims. Garabedian is portrayed in the movie "Spotlight" about The Boston Globe's coverage of how the church acted over many years, at the highest levels, to conceal sexual abuse by priests.
The settlement with the diocese required Koske and anyone associated with him to release the church from any future claims.
Rebecca Koske says her father, who remains a devout Catholic and works as a janitor at St. Stanislaus in Chicopee, believes that he was failed by an individual priest, not by the church itself.
"His faith was used against him by the very institution he has faith in," she said in an interview.
"There was something about the holiness that I loved about a priest," said Richard Koske, who then spoke of his treatment by Honan. "There isn't a day goes by that this guy doesn't haunt me."
To prepare for the meeting, Koske said she worked this past week to gather documents in her father's case.
Though the diocese had told the family it reported Honan's conduct to district attorneys' offices in Springfield ad Northampton, those offices could not locate the documents this past week, Rebecca Koske said.
An inquiry to the diocese by the office of Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan resulted in a copy being sent of Koske's intake form, in which he had outlined his complaint. The diocese says it did send documents to the district attorneys in 2011. The Eagle obtained a copy of a 2011 letter addressed to Sullivan.
In October, Koske described her father's case in a letter to Pope Francis.
"It meant a lot to me to be able to defend my father and speak on his behalf. It felt good to get that out," she said of that letter.
On Friday, Rebecca and Richard Koske brought a written request to Sullivan's office for a copy of his intake form, which they had never seen. They expect to have that request fulfilled early this coming week.
Larry Parnass can be reached at email@example.com, at @larryparnass on Twitter and 413-496-6214.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.