Category Archives: Diocese of Joliet
What the church documents reveal
But those aren’t the only stories revealed in some 6,000 pages of documents the church had kept confidential for decades. The documents also shed light on issues pedophile priests were dealing with both before and after they abused children. They include letters to priests from archbishops who failed to face the issue of child abuse head on. And they reveal the anguish of the victims and the victims’ parents.
The documents, which were released July 1 as part of the church’s bankruptcy case, reveal the human side of the scandal.
Some of the priests said they had been sexually abused as children. The victims were often insecure and searching for guidance. And archbishops, in addition to trying to protect the church, felt a pastoral responsibility to priests who were abusers.
Only a few of the accused priests were criminally charged; many denied they did anything wrong. Most left the priesthood with severance pay or were allowed to retire with a pension, health benefits and a place to live. Of the dozen priests included in this story, three are still alive but have been stripped of their priestly ministry: Franklyn Becker, Michael Krejci and Thomas Trepanier, according to archdiocese records.
This story is based on a close review of the pedophile priest files, which include candid letters exchanged between accused priests and archbishops; sexual abuse intake reports; psychological assessments; letters from archbishops to the Vatican seeking counsel or formal action against priests; and letters from victims and their parents.
The pedophile priests
The documents show that many of the priests did not consider themselves criminals, but victims. Some were addicted to alcohol or pornography. They did good work in the church and helped many people. But they also had a dark side they either struggled to control or did not acknowledge.
Many did not express guilt or remorse; they couldn’t understand why they were treated severely after they had accepted counseling and done everything the archdiocese asked of them. Some acknowledged conflicted sexual orientation, loneliness, self-loathing, an inability to form healthy adult relationships. Psychologists concluded that at least one priest’s emotional development was stunted.
Father Eugene Kreuzer confessed to members of an unidentified parish in an undated letter:
“…There were allegations of my sexual abuse of minors some 30 years ago in a different parish. I express remorse and repent of these actions. However, for the good of the community I have decided that my continued presence at the parish is not helpful. I have been fully cooperative with the restrictions placed upon me. I do not exercise anyministry and am living out my life in a spirit of prayer and penance.This is a strong and loving parish community and I know you will respond to thisannouncement in the manner that is most appropriate, by praying for all those involved….”
Father Andrew Doyle sought a financial settlement in a letter to then-Archbishop Rembert Weakland:
” …you had indicated that you would grant me an unspecified amount of money as a severance. Because I have regular bills and a house payment, I ask that if it becomes necessary for a release from my orders, at that time you would consider an amount of $30,000 … I have tried to cooperate with the Archdiocese…I regret any pain I have caused you; I also have been in much myself.”
A letter from then-Archbishop Dolan to then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger at the Vatican offered his impressions of Father Franklyn Becker, who Dolan said refused to voluntarily give up his ministry rights as a sign of repentance:
“Father Becker has admitted that a number of these acts of sexual assault occurred… While he attempts to present a defense based on cooperation and need for sustenance, in interviews with him, there is little display of repentance. His sorrow is not over what effect his immoral and abusive behaviors had on others, so much as it is remorse that he has lost a sense of status…”
Several priests were referred for intensive treatment of alcoholism and psycho-sexual issues. A treatment progress report for Father Michael Krejci concluded, among other things:
“…Normal inhibiting mechanisms, such as guilt or remorse, do not appear to impede Michael’s problematic sexual behavior…”
Each archbishop had his own way of addressing accused priests.
Archbishop William Cousins wrote terse, formal letters to inform priests they were being transferred, which occurred frequently and quietly during his tenure from 1959 to 1977. Cousins did not document much, reflecting a time when sex abuse accusations against priests were not openly discussed.
Weakland, archbishop from 1977 to 2002, consistently expressed concern for the priests’ well-being and told them he was doing what was best for them and the church. He also exchanged letters with victims, acknowledging the bad effects of what had happened and encouraging them to forgive because “forgiveness brings spiritual growth.”
Weakland resigned in 2002 amid revelations that he had used church money to pay a $450,000 settlement to a man with whom he had had a sexual relationship years earlier.
Archbishop Timothy Dolan, whose tenure from 2002 to 2007 coincided with a change in direction by the Vatican in dealing with sex abuse cases, wrote stern letters to priests about their actions, while expressing concern for their well-being. In his letters to victims, Dolan apologized for their pain and offered them counseling services.
One internal exchange at the archdiocese was especially frank. This excerpt of a 2006 letter from Archdiocese Chancellor Barbara Anne Cusack to Dolan was about Father Michael Benham:
“Although Michael has apparently expressed remorse to you, I have not seen that remorse translate into action. The victim in this case requested a token amount of money as a gesture of recognition of the harm he had caused; Michael has consistently and adamantly refused to do so…This was not a one-time incident of indiscretion.
“There have to be consequences to actions. I do not doubt that an all-merciful God has forgiven Michael but an all-just God will also probably require some purgation for these actions…Michael’s life of solitude is made possible because we are paying his subsidy and could be doing so for the next 10 years until he is eligible for pension…I am not sure how we can justify this as ‘good stewardship’ of the resources people have entrusted to us… How do I honestly look a victim-survivor in the face in mediation and say we are acting consistently with Pope John Paul II’s statement that ‘there is no place in the priesthood for those who would harm a child?'”
A letter Dolan wrote in December 2002 to parishioners at an unspecified church about Father Thomas Trepanier acknowledged the need for accountability.
“We forgive those priests who have been guilty of this crime and sin, once they admit it — as most do, painfully and admirably — ask for mercy and repent. We know God forgives them; we must forgive them too; and I hope they can forgive themselves.
“Forgiveness, however, does not eliminate the need for those accused to take responsibility, to be held accountable for their behavior.”
One month before Dolan wrote to parishioners about forgiveness for Trepanier, he wrote to Trepanier:
“…While we await clearer resolution from the Holy See and the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops, I just wanted you to know that I have not forgotten about you, and that you have my love, concern, and prayerful solidarity…”
Dolan added a handwritten note in the margin: “Thanks for the green tea! I’ll be in touch soon.”
Seven years earlier, in 1995, a letter from Weakland to Father Eldred Lesniewski reflected a much different tone:
“…Every time you appear in public this way at the altar, Eldred, you risk stirring up people who have brought allegations. The network of such victims is enormous and very aggressive. You risk much unfortunate bad publicity against yourself, the priesthood and the Diocese…”
They were altar boys. Kids in need of a friend or a counselor. Boys and girls who for whatever reason caught the eye of the priest at school or in church. Perhaps the priest initially made them feel special with gifts or extra attention — a sleepover or a vacation on a Caribbean cruise. One priest invited boys to go up north on a camping trip in a hearse.
A man who said he was molested as a boy by Father Lawrence Murphy at St. John’s School for the Deaf finally confronted the priest decades later in a letter copied to Archbishop Weakland and Pope John Paul II:.
“…I cannot keep our secret about your life as a terrible molester at our school…You made us hate the Catholic church because we couldn’t understand how you could be such a hypocrite of a priest who taught us about God while you were the secret molester…
“I would lie awake every night shaking in fear that this would be a night you would touch me …Jesus on the cross on the wall saw you coming every night to molest us. He must have been shocked and grieved every time. I hope he cried like we did, because we were innocent children… The depth of your destruction is like a deep, dark, bottomless pit that has no end…The very least you could do is be sorry, but you aren’t…
“God lets no one into heaven who is not deeply, truly, and shamefully sorry for his sins — in your case, atrocities…My shame and my dirty secret are back where they belong, with you, their creator.”
The mother of one of Father Franklyn Becker’s victims wrote to Weakland in 1994, after accusations about pedophile priests began being reported by newspapers. Her son was abused by Becker at the Holy Family parish in Whitefish Bay in the 1970s, she said.
“As I later found out, this priest had a record in his previous parish and after leaving Whitefish Bay, continued on his merry way in parish after parish, both here and out of state….
“At the time that his offense against my son occurred, I was (redacted) very vulnerable and very committed to seeing that my children be educated in Catholic schools. That’s how he came to know my sons; we took him into our hearts and into our family…
“At no time did it ever occur to me to sue the Archdiocese or the priest… Money could never heal the scars left by one priest’s indiscretion. However, Archbishop Weakland, don’t for a minute smugly think that the only cases of clergy abuse out there are the ones that sue/or run to the media. All I really wanted over the past years was an acknowledgment by you and the Archdiocese that this problem existed and the seriousness of it….
“In addition to a deep sense of guilt for allowing, or even encouraging this to happen to my son some years ago, I have in the past few years experienced a loss of faith, an indifference to the church I was brought up in and now a real bitterness that this particular priest had been ‘rewarded’ with early retirement for a lifetime of botched assignments due to his fondness for the altar boys.”
Father George Nuedling gained sympathy from in-the-dark parishioners one day for an injury he sustained after molesting a victim, according to this letter the victim wrote to the archdiocese:
“…I fought as hard as I could for what seemed an eternity, and fortunately when he lost his grip on me I was able to run away. He tried to give chase but must have pulled something in his calf or hamstring area and fell to the ground (Jesus must have been with me).
“The next day in church it just galled me to hear other parishioners express their concern over Father Nuedling’s ‘bad limp’ and how it must have hurt…I just wonder how many other little boys this evil man harmed?”
Father George Etzel sent a Christmas card in 1992 to a victim, who by then was an adult. “I’m sad and sorry, and I wonder why,” he wrote.
The victim responded: “Thank you for the card and thoughts at Christmas… By the tone of your note…I see that you are also reflecting on your past life…and you know exactly what I am talking about.As I stated earlier, it is a time for forgiveness and hope. I forgive you for the things you have done to me. I hope you can make peace with your god…”
When it was time for his first confession, a 9-year-old victim thought he could anonymously tell a trusted adult about Father Siegfried Widera. But something stopped him, according to a letter he wrote as an adult on Aug. 1, 2002:
“…As I entered that booth, I was determined to end this. It was only to my horror that I entered the confessional and heard that voice that could belong to only one man. I can still to this day feel the devastation that entered me that day and the thought that it was a sign from God to keep my mouth shut. I went home that night and cried. A memory that burns in me to this day.
“A sense of relief only came after I found out he was gone. No explanation to the students and none that I can remember hearing about to the adults… I already know that this man was transferred to another church and he did it again. I live with the thought that I could have stopped this if only I had come forward sooner. And now I know that this man is on the run…
“I only wish I believed enough in prayer to pray for any child he comes across.”
Less than a year after the letter was written, Widera leaped to his death from a hotel balcony in Mexico as officials closed in to arrest him. He had been on the run for more than a year, and authorities considered him one of the most wanted sex-crime fugitives in the Western Hemisphere.
The Catholic church should be outlawed forthwith
JohnB on outlawing the Catholic church today
From the link: http://www.molestedcatholics.com/
Talking whilst driving with my son today and I began to relate to him some details about a foot injury I had as a child. He had come home and shown me a blister on his foot; I told him he had not spent enough time in bare feet – that was the prompt, my topic could be my right foot or how long/harmful/life distorting the repression of the day to day Catholic cover up are – its part of the healing journey and a son who smiled today when he listened to me about this – its the story of how I had to cover up the injury even though I had to have ongoing medical attention and purpose made boots it was always done in the name of something else – my injured foot which had left me with a distinct limp because I walked with my foot turned in as it had been injured seriously when the car door was repeatedly slammed on my foot on the day the priest raped me at a little church in the beautiful hills of Central Victoria – its about how every Catholic knew what the cause was and every Catholic knew I was not permitted to speak about it – they were able to assist me with my pigeon toed-ness but they were not able to help me with my injured foot due to being slammed in the lock of the car door as that was a lie that would send me to hell – that’s why other kids parents were permitted to beat you if they heard you speak about it being what it in fact was. This was a conscious campaign by every catholic in that town, nuns and priests, knights of the Southern Cross, bishops, the local Catholic Policeman, the Editor of the local newspaper included – they all knew and participated – that to me is what the cover up was and the to me is what the cover up is today – that is what Catholic parishes across the world participate in still today – that is the Catholic cover up in action. It is bigger and stronger than just the Catholic hierarchy because so many have built their careers and their fortunes on.
The part skepticism plays in helping to clarify those truths and facts of your life – you realize that your own brothers and sisters were blackmailed in the same way over this and over dozens of other crimes that had occurred and were covered up – there was a regular murmurous uproar as another instances of sexual abuse was gossiped and whispered about and some kid bullied into fear of their life until the rules of secrecy were instilled (rather this repression was the enforcement of denial into the entire catholic population.
If society does not turn away from the path of the Catholic church and if it does not freeze its assets, its businesses then the vast majority of the real crime in our society will never be addressed and the world will never have had a real chance to raise our children in a peaceful, loving and truthful environment. Lets make 2011 the year we all come together to unite in the single cause of demanding our government ceases to trade with and Catholic or religious entity until democracy is restored in our country.
There is no precedent that permits a sector of society to enact genocide on its followers on the basis of religion. That is what we have today and what we have today is insidious and at the core of the ability of society to progress in the areas of human rights, dignity, respect, individuality, freedom of expression of thought and the freedom of speech.
While ever the Catholic church continues to exist and to be able to function as an organized religion it will be in the process of enacting the genocidal practices of the religion against some portion of society and it will continue to enable wars just as any organized religion can and repeatedly to the detriment of society does. The Catholic church is our most obvious example. We can either help the Catholic church to prevail or we can help our children to prevail. For every person on the planet the real choice they have to make is whether they will support the Catholic church or will they support the children.
2011 must be the year when those of us across the world who have an understanding of this and for us to collectively demand our governments brings it to a halt and never permits it to occur again. That is a part of their moral obligation to society. Any politician who today stands in support of the Catholic church should be collectively condemned through our united and collective voices.
Make 2011 the year when you connect up with a proactive survivor who speaks clearly and directly about the needs and the means of providing the safety and the protection our children and our society need.
The Catholic church and those who follow it today need to stand back and permit reason and justice to prevail, to permit each and every person within the boundaries of their country to live with the legitimate right to live in a free and democratic country free of repression and child abuse.
The Catholic church stands condemned as a psychopathic pariah and must be rejected in all forms wherever it is not regulated and policed.
The Church’s Errant Shepherds
By FRANK BRUNI Published: July 6, 2013
BOSTON, Philadelphia, Los Angeles. The archdioceses change but the overarching story line doesn’t, and last week Milwaukee had a turn in the spotlight, with the release of roughly 6,000 pages of records detailing decades of child sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests there, a sweeping, searing encyclopedia of crime and insufficient punishment.
But the words I keep marveling at aren’t from that wretched trove. They’re from an open letter that Jerome Listecki, the archbishop of Milwaukee, wrote to Catholics just before the documents came out.
“Prepare to be shocked,” he said.
What a quaint warning, and what a clueless one.
Quaint because at this grim point in 2013, a quarter-century since child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church first captured serious public attention, few if any Catholics are still surprised by a priest’s predations.
Clueless because Listecki was referring to the rapes and molestations themselves, not to what has ultimately eroded many Catholics’ faith and what continues to be even more galling than the evil that a man — any man, including one in a cassock or collar — can do. I mean the evil that an entire institution can do, though it supposedly dedicates itself to good.
I mean the way that a religious organization can behave almost precisely as a corporation does, with fudged words, twisted logic and a transcendent instinct for self-protection that frequently trump the principled handling of a specific grievance or a particular victim.
The Milwaukee documents underscore this, especially in the person of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, now the archbishop of New York, previously the archbishop of Milwaukee from 2002 to 2009 and thus one of the characters in the story that the documents tell. Last week’s headlines rightly focused on his part, because he typifies the slippery ways of too many Catholic leaders.
The documents show that in 2007, as the Milwaukee archdiocese grappled with sex-abuse lawsuits and seemingly pondered bankruptcy, Dolan sought and got permission from the Vatican to transfer $57 million into a trust for Catholic cemetery maintenance, where it might be better protected, as he wrote, “from any legal claim and liability.”
Several church officials have said that the money had been previously flagged for cemetery care, and that Dolan was merely formalizing that.
But even if that’s so, his letter contradicts his strenuous insistence before its emergence that he never sought to shield church funds. He did precisely that, no matter the nuances of the motivation.
He’s expert at drafting and dwelling in gray areas. Back in Milwaukee he selectively released the names of sexually abusive priests in the archdiocese, declining to identify those affiliated with, and answerable to, particular religious orders — Jesuits, say, or Franciscans. He said that he was bound by canon law to take that exact approach.
But bishops elsewhere took a different one, identifying priests from orders, and in a 2010 article on Dolan in The Times, Serge F. Kovaleski wrote that a half-dozen experts on canon law said that it did not specifically address the situation that Dolan claimed it did.
Dolan has quibbled disingenuously over whether the $20,000 given to each abusive priest in Milwaukee who agreed to be defrocked can be characterized as a payoff, and he has blasted the main national group representing victims of priests as having “no credibility whatsoever.” Some of the group’s members have surely engaged in crude, provocative tactics, but let’s have a reality check: the group exists because of widespread crimes and a persistent cover-up in the church, because child after child was raped and priest after priest evaded accountability. I’m not sure there’s any ceiling on the patience that Dolan and other church leaders should be expected to muster, especially because they hold themselves up as models and messengers of love, charity and integrity.
That’s the thing. That’s what church leaders and church defenders who routinely question the amount of attention lavished on the church’s child sexual abuse crisis still don’t fully get.
Yes, as they point out, there are molesters in all walks of life. Yes, we can’t say with certainty that the priesthood harbors a disproportionate number of them.
But over the last few decades we’ve watched an organization that claims a special moral authority in the world pursue many of the same legal and public-relations strategies — shuttling around money, looking for loopholes, tarring accusers, massaging the truth — that are employed by organizations devoted to nothing more than the bottom line.
In San Diego, diocesan leaders who filed for bankruptcy were rebuked by a judge for misrepresenting the local church’s financial situation to parishioners being asked to help pay for sex-abuse settlements.
In St. Louis church leaders claimed not to be liable for an abusive priest because while he had gotten to know a victim on church property, the abuse itself happened elsewhere.
In Kansas City, Mo., Rebecca Randles, a lawyer who has represented abuse victims, says that the church floods the courtroom with attorneys who in turn drown her in paperwork. In one case, she recently told me, “the motion-to-dismiss pile is higher than my head — I’m 5-foot-4.”
Also in Kansas City, Bishop Robert Finn still inhabits his post as the head of the diocese despite his conviction last September for failing to report a priest suspected of child sexual abuse to the police. This is how the church is in fact unlike a corporation. It coddles its own at the expense of its image.
As for Dolan, he is by many accounts and appearances one of the good guys, or at least one of the better ones. He has often demonstrated a necessary vigor in ridding the priesthood of abusers. He has given many victims a voice.
But look at the language in this 2005 letter he wrote to the Vatican, which was among the documents released last week. Arguing for the speedier dismissal of an abusive priest, he noted, in cool legalese, “The liability for the archdiocese is great as is the potential for scandal if it appears that no definitive action has been taken.”
His attention to appearances, his focus on liability: he could be steering an oil company through a spill, a pharmaceutical giant through a drug recall.
As for “the potential for scandal,” that’s as poignantly optimistic a line as Listecki’s assumption that the newly released Milwaukee documents would shock Catholics. By 2005 the scandal that Dolan mentions wasn’t looming but already full blown, and by last week the only shocker left was that some Catholic leaders don’t grasp its greatest component: their evasions and machinations.
A version of this op-ed appeared in print on July 7, 2013, on page SR3 of the New York edition with the headline: The Church’s Errant Shepherds.
Diocese of Joliet Chancery
Diocese of Joliet Chancery Established in 1948, encompasses seven counties in northern Illinois, roughly 30 miles southwest of Chicago, serves Roman Catholics in seven counties. It consists of 122 parishes and 11 missions, 64 elementary and secondary schools, and three colleges and serves a population of 620,363 registered Catholics with 171 deacons and 195 diocesan priests.
Diocese of Joliet Chancery abuse Diocese rocked by allegations of sexual abuse and cover-up, with 18 priests accused of sexual abuse up to January 2003 (NYT survey). Ten priests were removed from the diocese 2002-03. Another priest from the diocese who was serving in Kentucky also was placed on administrative leave. Priests who were accused in Joliet and transferred to other dioceses, Anthony Ross in Santa Rosa, Calif., and Fred Lenczycki in St. Louis, also were removed when old allegations surfaced. National Audit found more than 100 credible allegations of priests engaging in sexual misconduct with children have been made against 27 diocesan clerics. Seven more priests were accused of inappropriate sexual behavior during that period, but those accusations were not sustained 22 February 2004.
- Diocese of Joliet Chancery settlements Diocese paid more than $2.6 million 1983-2002, made up of $1.7 million paid to victims of sexual abuse by priests, with an additional $936,000 paid by insurance.
Bishop Imesch Bishop Joseph Imesc (1932-), 26 years a bishop, defended accused clerics, saying they were good priests who exercised poor judgment and were victims of smear campaigns and reckless media coverage. Bishop Joseph Imesch retired in May 2006
- Bishop Imesch cover-up Bishop Imesch had a long history of covering up pedophilia, transferring at least four accused priests inside his diocese without alerting parishioners. And he brought in a convicted child molester, the Rev. Gary Berthiaume, who had served as an associate pastor under him at a Detroit church years earlier. Meanwhile, the Archdiocese of St. Louis removed two priests it had accepted from Joliet, the Rev. Fred Lenczycki and the Rev. J. Anthony Meis, saying that Bishop Imesch had not disclosed past allegations against them when recommending them for transfers. The bishop has denied that assertion. Early in 2002, he said that some people are not traumatized by sexual abuse and that some priests who molest adolescents should be allowed back into ministry after therapy, but in late May 2002, he changed to support “zero tolerance” policy after the bishops approved it in Dallas: “I am sorry for any pain I have caused victims, their families, parishioners and others,” he wrote. “I feel that some of the criticisms directed at me were harsh, but I hope that I have learned from them.”
Three priest case Two brothers, John and Jeff Welch sued the Diocese of Joliet Chancery , claiming three priests, John C. Slown, Arno Dennerlein and Richard Ruffalo abused them 1962-68 while they attended St. John the Baptist Church in Winfield. DuPage Circuit Judge John T. Elsner ruled a new state law extending the time limit for lawsuits in cases of sexual abuse of children cannot be applied retroactively to revive the brothers’ allegations.
Two priest case Two brothers sue the Diocese of Joliet, claiming sexual abuse by two different priests. The lawsuits filed in Will County Circuit Court brought to 15 the number of suits pending against the diocese in Will and DuPage counties, May 2006.
Diocesian list Names of some diocesan priests accused of sexually abusing minors against whom a credible allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor has been made. It will not include the names of religious order priests who served in the diocese, or diocesan priests who were the subjects of claims that were deemed unfounded. Announced 2 April 2006.
Diocesan Cases of Joliet Chancery
[34 offenders identified, 42 listed]
Anon priest I Civil lawsuit accusing a former suburban priest of sexually abusing a teenage boy more than 30 years earlier would not be made public unless a judge agrees first to release them. It names the Diocese of Joliet Chancery and Bishop Joseph Imesch as defendants, contending there was abuse in that church officials were aware of, but they took no action to prevent it. The diocese filed a legal motion seeking to seal all court filings in the case, saying it fears releasing information could harm the privacy of other alleged victims. “Bishop Imesch is trying to keep a lid on and keep all the dirty secrets hidden, said Barbara Blaine, director of SNAP.
Anon priest II Sexual allegations made against two priests by a former student who attended both Providence Catholic School and Joliet Catholic High School. The incidents would have occurred more than 30 years earlier, when the alleged victim was a student. No lawsuit or criminal charges have been filed. Reported 8 June 2010.
Anon priest III See Anon priest II
Barrett affair Rev. John F. Barrett, ordained 1959, accused of abuse. Placed on leave May 2002, re old accusations that he molested an 8th grade boy in Catholic cchool in 1968. Original claim was made in 1991 but the man says that Diocese cancelled meeting with him at last minute when he wanted to bring either his wife or attorney with him. The victim let the matter drop until 2002 when investigator for Diocese contacted him. Cleared by Diocesan investigation 10 June 2002 and returned to duty. Diocese said claims could not be substantiated and victim was not cooperating.
Bennett affair Rev. Richard Bennett, pastor at Holy Spirit Catholic Community, denied the abuse allegations claiming he was one of two priests in the Diocese of Joliet sexually abused Tim Greco beginning when he was 11 years old in 1975. He was in a shower with the Rev. Philip Dedera in the rectory at St. Pius X Church in Lombard when Bennett walked in and discovered the priest and boy naked together (Dedera affair). Greco alleges that Dedera repeatedly abused him for more than a year and that Bennett molested him once. Filed April 2006. Case dismissed due to the state’s statute of limitations and parishioners celebrated, June 2007.
Berthiaume affair Rev. Gary D. Berthiaume was convicted and received 6 months in jail 1978 for abusing a 12 years-old boy who received $325,000 settlement in the 1980s. The victim went on to have his own pedophilia problems. Berthiaume was kept in a parish in the Archdiocese of Detroit for most of the 1980s without telling the congregation about his prior molestation conviction. A priest assigned to monitor him, the Rev. Allen Bruening, himself previously had been removed from a parish because of abuse allegations and was made director of a Catholic high school. Berthiaume was transferred again, to the Diocese of Joliet, IL, until he was removed from his post as chaplain in a suburban Chicago hospital when allegations of old abuse occurred, 2002.
Burnett affair Rev. James Burnett, ordained 1968, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Mokena.
- Shanahan accusation Dan Shanahan accused Rev. James Burnett of molesting him from ages 8 to 12 until the mid-1980s at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Mokena. .
Chang affair Rev. Joseph Chang accused of abuse of woman settled 1995.
Dedera affair Rev. Philip Dedera, ordained 1 November 1972, was accused by Tim Greco of sexual abuse. Greco was showering with the Dedera in the rectory at St. Pius X Church in Lombard when Rev. Richard Bennett walked in (Bennett affair) and discovered the priest and boy naked together. Greco alleges that Dedera repeatedly abused him for more than a year and that Bennett molested him once. Dedera became a suburban Chicago hospital chaplain, was removed from his post, 2002. Case filed April 2006. Claim was settled.
Dennerlein affair Rev. Arno Dennerlein, Jesuit, ordained 31 May 1969, priest at St. Patrick Catholic Church was accused by two brothers of abusing them in the mid-1970s, when Dennerlein took them to the rectory and convinced them to lie down on his couch. The younger brother, who was between 5 and 6 years old at the time, told police that Dennerlein tried to look down his pants. The older brother, who was about 12 at the time of his incident, said Dennerlein fondled him. The two did not learn about each other’s experiences until years later. Sued 2003. Placed on administrative leave 2003, canonical case pending.
Fischer affair Rev. Lowell Fischer (deceased) accused of abuse, removed from ministry 2002.
Flores affair Rev. Alejandro Flores (Alex) (1973-), who is a native of Bolivia, was ordained in June 2009 and was the parochial vicar of Holy Family Parish in Shorewood. Prior to that he served as a deacon at St. Elizabeth Seton in Naperville. He was placed on administrative leave after a St. Charles family alleged that he had sexually assaulted their 13-year-old son over a five-year period, starting in January 2005, when the boy was 8, 4 January 2010.
- Flores suicide attempt Flores attempted suicide, surviving the fall from a 20-foot choir balcony at St. Mary’s Carmelite Church in Joliet, 6 January 2010.
- Flores trial Alejandro Flores was charged with one count of predatory criminal sexual assault, two counts of sexual assault, and four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, 21 January 2010.
Formusa affair Rev. Salvatore Formusa (deceased) ordained 27 April 1935, had substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of minors made against him, retired 1985.
Frederick affair Rev. James Frederick (d. 1988) ordained 30 May 1959, had substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of minors made against him.
Furdek affair Rev. John M. Furdek (1953-), ordained 2 June 1984, pastor of St. Alexander Catholic Church in Villa Park, had been assigned to Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Naperville, St. Philip the Apostle in Addison, and St. Mary of Gostyn in Downers Grove. He had substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of minors made against him, removed from ministry 2000, arrested, charged, 2000. In 2003, a Wisconsin court convicted Furdek of attempted second-degree sexual assault of a child and sentenced him to 15 years. He had been arrested at a Racine, Wis., restaurant where he went to meet a 14-year-old boy for sex. He served three years of his prison sentence and was paroled in May 2006. He is a registered child sex offender in Illinois and Wisconsin.
- MusclePosing773 screen name of “the boy” Furdek had been chatting with online for months who turned out to be an agent with the Wisconsin Department of Justice.
Gibbney affair Rev. Michael Gibbney began his ministry in 1959, served at St. Isidore Church in Bloomingdale, St. Charles Borromeo in Bensenville, St. Luke’s parish in Carol Stream 1972-81. He was accused of molesting an altar boy at Mary Queen of Heaven Church in Elmhurst from 1978-79. He served at Holy Ghost Church in Wood Dale 1981-90, finally St. Daniel the Prophet on West Loop Road in Wheaton since the parish formed in 1989. Removed from ministry 1992. Sued 2002.
- Gibbney lawsuits Two more men filed lawsuits against the Joliet Diocese claiming Bishop Joseph Imesch and other diocese officials are responsible for alleged sexual abuse by Michael Gibbney. Bobby Drish (1968-) and David Mortell (1969-) accused Gibbney of molesting them beginning when they were 11 and 13 years old in 1979 and 1981, respectively. The lawsuits claim that Imesch was aware of Gibbney’s inappropriate conduct with boys at Mary Queen of Heaven parish in Elmhurst when the bishop moved him to St. Dominic and St. Francis of Assisi parishes in Bolingbrook. Filed 2 February 2006.
Gibbs affair Rev. Lawrence M. Gibbs (Larry), ordained 12 May 1973, sexually abused boys in Lombard parish 1977 and 1980. Then early in Bishop Joseph Imesch’s career in Joliet in 1980, the diocese moved Gibbs while he was under criminal investigation and refused to tell investigators where he was. The bishop told parents whose children had been interviewed in the case that authorities had found no evidence to charge. During a deposition in August 2005, Bishop Imesch said a priest skinny-dipping and playing poker in the nude with young boys was “inappropriate,” but because Imesch did not consider it to be sexual abuse. The bishop sent Gibbs to Lockport parish where he began molesting an 11-year-old boy. Removed from ministry 1992. Gibbs left the priesthood. Affair settled 1998.
Howlin affair Rev. Carroll Howlin, ordained 26 May 1961, pastor in Whitley City, KY, since 1980, was suspended by the Joliet diocese and the Lexington, KY diocese pending an investigation into sexual misconduct, April 2002, canonical case pending.
Jochem affair Rev. Harold Jochem (deceased), Franciscan ordained 1930, man filed civil suit June 2004 alleging that he was abused from 1974 to 1978 by Jochem and another franciscan friar, Jeffrey Salwach, at St. Jude Catholic Parish in New Lenox. Suit says that the two priests forced the youth to engage in group sex, smoke marijuana and drink alcohol over a 4 year period.
Kocher affair Rev. Donald C. Kocher sued for abuse of a woman 1995.
Lenczycki affair Rev. Frederick A. Lenczycki (Fred), ordained 21 October 1972, had a history of sexual abusing as many as 30 boys, many from Chicago’s suburbs, which began after his ordination and continued through his 2004 conviction for the crimes committed at St. Isaac Jogues Parish in Hinsdale. He was accused in Joliet, moved to St. Louis and was removed when old allegations surfaced. Because Lenczycki left the state in 1984, shortly after more than a dozen young boys at St. Isaac Jogues Parish in Hinsdale accused him of molesting them, the statute of limitations had not yet run out, ruled DuPage County Circuit Judge Ann B. Jorgensen, 18 June 2003. Removed from ministry 2002. Convicted 2004. It appears that he had more than two dozen from about six assignments in Illinois, California and Missouri over several years.
McBrien affair Rev. Kevin Michael McBrien, Carmelite ordained 1970, was removed from position at St. Matthew Church In Glendale Heights May 2010 after allegation that he abused one youth on a single occasion approx. 30-35 yrs previously while at Joliet Catholic High School. Same person also alleged abuse on multiple occasions by Fr. Lee Ryan at Providence High School. Investigation by Diocese is ongoing, Lives in a supervised setting August 2010.
Mateo affair Rev. Leonardo Mateo, ordained 17 March 1956, had substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of minors made against him, left diocese 1984, later returned to Archdiocese of Cebu
Meis affair Rev. J. Anthony Meis, ordained 15 August 1972, hospital chaplain, had substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of minors made against him, settled. Removed from ministry 2002.
Mullins affair Rev. Lawrence Mullins (Larry), ordained 15 October 1977, sexually abused three boys while they were elementary school students and altar boys at St. Raymond Cathedral in Joliet from 1978 to 1980. Mullins told them the molestation was a normal part of coming of age. Removed from ministry 1993. Removed from Joliet Catholic Academy 2002.
- Fehrenbacher accusation Christopher Fehrenbacher said Mullins abused him several times between 1978 and 1980 in the school, in the church sacristy and in Mullins’ apartment in the rectory. Fehrenbacher was 10 years old when the reported abuses began. Mullins, who supervised altar boys, preyed on an elite group of youths who were granted privileges by serving at church functions.
Murphy affair Br. Robert Murphy, Carmelite, accused of abuse.
Nowak affair Rev. James A. Nowak, ordained 1967, retired in 2007 from Saints Peter and Paul in Naperville. Member of Montini Catholic H.S. board of directors. Removed without privileges August 2012 after allegation of sexual abuse of a minor approx. 25 years previously (possibly mid to late 1980s.) No parish information given but 1989 Official Catholic Directory shows him assigned to St. Anthony in Joliet. Review Board found allegation to be credible. Matter will be forwarded to Rome for further action.
O’Connor affair Rev. Donald O’Connor, ordained 23 May 1964, police chaplain, had substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of minors made against him, removed from ministry 2002.
Pock affair Rev. Donald Pock (d. 2004), ordained 7 June 1958, had substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of minors made against him, removed from ministry, 2002.
Poff affair Rev. Edward Poff, ordained 7 June 1958, hospital chaplain, had substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of minors made against him, removed from ministry, 2002.
Ross affair Rev. Anthony Ross, ordained 11 November 1972, had substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of minors made against him, removed from ministry 2002
Ruffalo affair Rev. Richard Ruffalo (1935-1997), ordained 30 May 1959, In 2002 Ruffalo was accused by at least 2 men of abusing them when they were boys. Allegedly gave them beer and wine, took them on trips to Las Vegas and molested them. Ruffalo was also accused of stealing from collections. He was over $95,000 in debt when he died in 1997. One man filed civil suit 1998 which later settled. 2 more plaintiffs filed suit 2003. 4th man came forward 2006.
Ryan affair Rev. F. Lee Ryan allegedly had a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old boy in the 1970s. The now-52-year-old accuser said he and Ryan had a relationship for more than a year. The man confided in Ryan that he was gay, and things turned sexual as the two became closer. He believed they were dating. The accuser said he did not tell anyone at the time, and it was only in 2010 that he told his mother about his relationship with the family’s priest. His mother spoke to a victims advocate who arranged for him to submit a complaint to the church.
- Vatican view Vatican cited Canon No. 2359 in the 1917 Code of Canon Law to explain why the priest was not found guilty of violating church law. The code states that a cleric who violates the commandment forbidding adultery, by indecently touching a person under the age of 16, has committed a canonical crime. The priest removed from ministry over a sexual abuse allegation has been reinstated, September 2012.
Salwach affair Rev. Jeffrey Salwach, ordained 1984, man filed civil suit alleging that he was abused as youth from 1974 to 1978 by Salwach and another friar. Salwach later transferred to Texas before being placed on leave May 2003. Lawsuit settled and no criminal charges were filed. Still shown as active priest per Catholic Times 10 May 2009. In November 2011, word was received that Salwach had recently been assigned to work at LaVerna Friary in a residential neighborhood in St. Louis, MO.
Simonelli affair Rev. Jerry Simonelli was removed from his pastorate by Bishop J. Peter Sartain because he engaged in homosexual activity. “It was consenting behavior, but a priest takes a vow of celibacy,… He was unfaithful to his vows on more than one occasion,” 20 May 2010.
- Additional affair Separate diocesan investigation found that Father Simonelli had engaged in an additional homosexual relationship.
Slade affair Rev. Henry Slade, ordained 1984, accused of abuse, arrested and placed on leave January 1990. Pled guilty February 1990 to sexual misconduct with 18 year-old disabled man, removed from ministry 1990. Sentenced to 12 month. probation. Victim filed suit December 1991. Suit later settled.
Slown case Rev. John C. Slown, ordained 30 May 1959, was convicted in 1983 of sexually abusing an altar boy at St. Irene Catholic Church in Warrenville, was defrocked and then moved to Colorado. Slown says he left priesthood because he was alcoholic. In October 2003 two brothers filed suit alleging abuse by Slown, Ruffalo and Arno Dennerlein. Suit said abuse occurred in Illinois for several years and, for the younger boy, later in NJ. He was removed from ministry.
Stalzer affair Rev. David Stalzer (d. 2000), ordained 1974. 1993 civil suit claims that Stalzer and Lawrence M. Gibbs abused the plaintiff in 1981. Suit was dismissed in 1994 by the Court after Plaintiff claimed to have been treated by two psychologists and both denied having seen the man. Stalzer was returned to duty 4/93 (under supervision and with limited contact w/ youngsters) prior to resolution of suit. He was allowed to continue active duties until his death in 2000.
Stefanich case Rev. Edward Stefanich, ordained 25 May 1965, removed from ministry 1987, convicted for abuse of 14 year-old Woodridge girl, sentenced to 1 year probation 1987.
- Glen Ellyn allegation Stefanich was also accused of sexual abuse by a man Glen Ellyn man who recalled repressed memories of alleged abuse by Stefanich while at Christ the King parish in Lombard c. 1971.
- Anon girl I allegation Stefanich abused a 15 yr old girl for 16 mos in 1985-86. Church warned by Counselor about the relationship in 1986; they promised to handle but did nothing until 1987 after Stefanich proposed marriage and girl’s parents complained. Stefanich was indicted and pled guilty. In 1987 sentenced to 6 mo. jail; 1 yr of counseling and had to be laicized.
- Anon girl II allegation Police admitted that they knew he had abused another girl as well. Settled with family 4/88 for $450K.
- Anon accusation Man filed suit re abuse from 1969-1970, September 2003.
Van Duren affair Rev. Charles Van Duren (d. 1997), ordained 1952, name appeared on Diocese’s June 2008 list of accused priests with a credible/substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor. Worked in MA, PA, St. Joseph Indian School in SD, and MS before coming to Joliet Diocese in 1970. Worked in several parishes,retired in 1995.
Virtue affair Rev. William D. Virtue, ordained 1975, accused of abuse in Joliet Diocese in 1980-1981. Placed on leave February 2006. Not included on Joliet Diocese list of confirmed abusers released 4.09.06. Civil suit filed May 2006. Virtue worked in Joliet, Rockford and Peoria dioceses. Diocese settled suit as to Virtue as of September 2007.
Welch accusations Brothers Jeff and John Welch accused a priest and two of his colleagues of repeated sexual abuse, beginning during the nightly prayers and continuing even after the family moved out of state in a lawsuit against the Diocese of Joliet and three former priests they allege molested them, 14 October 2003. They said the abuse continued for six years until 1968 while they attended St. John the Baptist Church and its religious school in Winfield. The priests named in the suit were John C. Slown, Arno Dennerlein and Richard Ruffalo. The brothers struggled through years of depression and counseling before coming to grips with the allegations, “As a kid, you’re taught to respect and admire priests, almost to the point that you believe these guys can’t sin,” said John Welch.
White case I Rev. Myles Patrick White, ordained 28 May 1968, removed from ministry 1992, convicted for abuse of teenager 1992.
White case II Rev. Thomas White, pastor of St. Daniel the Prophet Parish in Wheaton, Ill., was the target of the lawsuit, which asked for damages exceeding $50,000, alleging repeated molesting of a 10-11 years old boy, in the rectory of the Carol Stream parish, 1979-80, October 2003. White was exonerated of abuse charges and reinstated as pastor after James Tibor of Naperville recanted charges of sexual abuse.
Suit alleges abuse by 2 priests in ’70s
Arizona man seeks $350,000 in civil case
April 28, 2006|By Manya A. Brachear, Tribune staff reporter
An Arizona man has accused two priests of sexually abusing him more than 30 years ago at St. Pius X Parish in Lombard, according to a $350,000 civil lawsuit filed Thursday in DuPage County Circuit Court.
Tim Greco, 43, of Gilbert, Ariz., alleges that Rev. Phillip Dedera sexually molested him more than 100 times, starting in 1974 when the plaintiff was an 11-year-old altar boy. He also recounted how Rev. Richard Bennett, now pastor of Holy Spirit Catholic Community Church in Naperville, caught Dedera in the act, but instead of reporting it to church or civil authorities, allegedly fondled the boy after a mass.
Contacted by telephone Thursday, Bennett tearfully denied the allegation, adding that Greco’s complaint had been investigated by the Joliet Diocesan Review Committee and was deemed “not credible.”
Dedera could not be reached for comment Thursday.
In a statement, diocese spokesman Tom Kerber said the review committee would reconvene soon to discuss the present situation. There have been no other allegations made against Bennett, Kerber said. For the time being, he said, Bennett will remain in ministry with restrictions.
Dedera was suspended from ministry in 2002 after church officials found an allegation against him to be substantiated. In a deposition taken in August 2005, Joliet Bishop Joseph Imesch confirmed that Dedera had been credibly accused of child sexual abuse.
Greco said at least one incident of abuse happened on a trip to Wisconsin, where the statute of limitations applies only to residents and therefore would not shield the Illinois priest from criminal prosecution.
While the recollection of abuse surfaced during alcohol abuse treatment years ago, Greco said it was the sight of his 11-year-old son that pushed him to contact Imesch about Dedera in 2004.
“I decided to come forward as a father,” Greco said. “It just destroys me to know there are men out there who can do this to children.”
It was not until a later conversation with his attorneys, Jeff Anderson and Marc Pearlman, that he realized what Bennett allegedly did was also wrong.
The diocese was informed of the allegations against Bennett in a letter to Imesch and diocese attorney James Byrne in August 2004.
Kerber said neither Greco nor his attorney responded to an invitation to present the allegation to the review committee or to provide additional information. Anderson said the diocese already had enough information by then to draw a conclusion.
Both Dedera and Bennett were ordained in 1972. Dedera also worked at churches including St. Andrew the Apostle in Romeoville, Visitation Parish in Elmhurst, St. Walter Parish in Roselle, St. Mary in Downers Grove, St. Scholastica in Woodridge, St. Mary in Paxton and St. Patrick in Momence. His last two assignments were in Naperville, at Edward Hospital and St. Patrick’s Residence.
Bennett has worked at churches including St. Dennis in Lockport, St. Raphael in Naperville and Sacred Heart Church in Joliet
Diocese apologizes for priest remarks
April 18, 2002|By David Heinzmann, Tribune staff reporter.
Catholic Diocese of Joliet officials scrambled Wednesday to apologize for the comments of a priest who said he had “no sympathy” for victims of sexual abuse by clergy.
After the Diocese of Santa Rosa, Calif., suspended former Joliet priest Rev. Anthony J. Ross because of an allegation that he sexually abused a teenage boy in Illinois in 1983, his brother, Rev. Richard Ross of Joliet, made inflammatory remarks that were printed in a newspaper Wednesday.
“I don’t have much sympathy for people who somehow couldn’t stop whatever happened,” Richard Ross told the Joliet Herald-News. “I’ll take all of these people who were abused, and I’ll abuse them with a baseball bat. You can quote me on that.”
The Joliet Diocese issued an apology Wednesday afternoon for Ross’ statements, which Bishop Joseph Imesch called “absolutely contrary to our beliefs and sensitivities and all that we stand for.”
The Santa Rosa Diocese has placed Anthony Ross on administrative leave while the allegation is investigated. Church officials there said they would cooperate with any police investigation. Anthony Ross has been at Santa Rosa since 1993, although he was officially assigned to Joliet until 1997, church officials said. Santa Rosa church officials said Ross requested the relocation. In California, Anthony Ross’ assignments included prison ministry and AIDS Ministry Outreach but no parish assignments, church officials said.
No criminal charges have been filed in the case.
Diocese spokeswoman Sister Judith Davies said Wednesday that church officials have not been able to reach Richard Ross, but the comments “will be addressed with Father Ross.”
The statement from Imesch’s office said that Ross’ remarks were out of character with his career of service as a priest.
“All can attest to Father Richard Ross’ lifelong excellent reputation for faith-filled and dedicated ministry, especially to those in need. Therefore, we cannot reconcile his statements with his exemplary ministry, nor can we attempt to explain them.
“We can only apologize on behalf of ourselves, the clergy, and all of our parishioners to all victims, their families and to all who are hurt by what was said.”
Attempts to reach Richard Ross at St. Bernard’s Parish, where he is pastor, were unsuccessful.
Anthony Ross is the fourth priest with a connection to the Joliet Diocese in three weeks to be removed from his duties because of allegations of decades-old sexual misconduct with boys.
In the first week of April the diocese removed Rev. Gary Berthiaume from his position as chaplain at Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove after it was revealed that he had been convicted of molesting a child in Michigan 24 years ago. Last week, Rev. Phillip Dedera was removed from his position as a chaplain at Edward Hospital in Naperville and chaplain at St. Patrick’s Residence, a Naperville nursing home.
Church officials said they had received a “credible” allegation that Dedera sexually abused a teenager in 1974 while he was serving at St. Andrew Parish in Romeoville. Diocesan officials said they believe the allegation against Dedera is factual and warrants no further investigation. He is receiving counseling.
Monday, the diocese acknowledged that Rev. Carroll Howlin has been suspended from his ministry in rural Kentucky, where he has worked as a missionary since 1977. Howlin is accused by a former seminarian of sexual abuse while he taught at St. Charles of Borromeo Seminary near Romeoville.
FOR THE RECORD – Additional material published April 19, 2002:
CORRECTIONS AND CLARIFICATIONS.
A story in Thursday’s Metro section incorrectly reported that Rev. Anthony J. Ross, who has been accused of sexually molesting a teenage boy in 1983 in the diocese of Joliet, had been placed on administrative leave by the diocese of Santa Rosa, Calif. In fact, Ross remains on active duty in prison ministry in California while the Santa Rosa diocese investigates the allegation. The incorrect information was supplied by the diocese of Joliet.