Deposition of Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Raymond E. Goedert
Transcript by of Exhibit 5

[Note from This is a transcript of Exhibit 5 from the Deposition of Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Raymond E. Goedert. This exhibit is important because it documents an extended conversation in 1987 between Goedert and the mother of an alleged victim of Rev. Robert E. Mayer. The conversation apparently occurred shortly after Goedert became Vicar for Priests, and as the deposition shows, his work as vicar would center around the promotion and subsequent removal of Mayer, who would later be convicted of child abuse that occurred in St. Odilo's parish on Goedert's watch (see Ex. 27, for Goedert in 1990 on Mayer's proposed promotion to St. Odilo's). The Mayer crisis would lead to Cardinal Bernardin's Commission and its June 1992 Report. If only Goedert had heeded the advice that he received in 1987 (see below).

Redactions in the original PDF are indicated by a note in square brackets. Full names and positions are also provided in square brackets.

In the deposition at p. 107, there is some discussion about whether the date at the top of this exhibit, Tuesday, November 11, 1986, is an error for November 11, 1987. Goedert states that he became Vicar for Priests on July 1, 1987, and in this document, he states that he is the New Vicar for Priests. In the original exhibit, the year 1986 appears to be added in a different hand. One might surmise that whoever added the year made a mistake. However, the author of the document wrote "Tuesday, November 11," and in fact, November 11, 1986 was indeed a Tuesday. But November 11, 1987 was a Wednesday. So if the date is in error, the mistake was made by the original author, not by the person who added the year. References in this exhibit appear to correspond to archdiocesan actions taken in 1987, as documented in other exhibits. We link to those exhibits in this transcript.]

This is a conversation between Father Ray Goedert and [redacted words] when he called her on [redacted word] Tuesday November 11[, 1986 added apparently in another hand] at approximately 11:15 a.m.:

Fr. introduced himself a[s] the new Vicar of Priests for the diocese of Chicago, having taken over for Fr. [Thomas F.] Ventura. I asked, "Fr. Ventura's not Vicar anymore?" He said I sounded surprised. I said I was – I hadn't heard there was a change and asked what happened. He explained that a Vicar's appointment lasts four years; Fr. Ventura's term was up last year and he (Fr. Goedert) was then appointed. Fr. Ventura has been on sabbatical in the Holy Land since and is expected to return next week. I told him that I had respect for Fr. Ventura – that he knew how to get things done in that position, and get it done pastorally.

Goedert said that the Archdiocese had received a call from James Serritella [attorney for the Archdiocese] – The reason was that Judge O'Brien had called Serritella as an ethical courtesy to notify opposing counsel that he (the judge) and I had ordered transcripts of the settlement hearing in the [Rev. Robert E.] Mayer case. The judge relayed to Serritella upon questioning that he had spoken with me and it seemed I was not satisfied with the settlement and that I [page 2 begins] was concerned that the Archdiocese had not and was not living up to its settlement agreement. Goedert said he met with Serritella yesterday and also with the Cardinal [Bernardin] in separate meetings.

I told Goedert that indeed we were never satisfied with the agreement because it had not included any indication that Mayer would receive professional counseling or therapy nor be restricted from contact with young people which were our primary concerns. No one in the Archdiocese would commit that on paper and we never knew what – if anything [–] was being done about his problem. Everyone from [Rev. Kenneth J.] Velo [who moved from the Vice Chancellor post to become Bernardin's Administrative Assistant in 1985] to [Rev. John Richard] Keating [Chancellor until 1983, when he was appointed bishop of the Arlington VA diocese] to the Cardinal told us "trust us" and to just "forgive, forget and go on with your lives." So, I said, there really wasn't much to live up to in the agreement – we got a check for half the attorney's fees and the Cardinal saw us for an hour – simple! The obligations were complete. I told Goedert what I am concerned about, always have been and always will be, is the possibility that Mayer could further harm young people because, as far as I could see from other instances I'd known about at St. Stephen's, Mayer remains unrestricted. I said I had [page 3 begins] visited or called Fr. Ventura a couple of times after the case was settled to report what I was hearing. It was no skin off our nose if the Archdiocese chose to do nothing – our kids were out of it – but I made a promise to the judge, the Cardinal and myself that if this man ever hurt another child, I would be there for that family with our records in hand to support that family. And, I said, I would have to bring my records because the records at Daly Center are pretty spar[s]e.

I told Goedert that, for various reasons, I had gone into the Daly Center records and found that many people have been through the file in past years – most recently, an attorney for the Des Plaines Police Department[,] which alarmed me because Mayer's in Des Plaines [at St. Stephen Protomartyr church].

Yes, Goedert said, he'd already spoken with the Chief of Police there to find out what that was about. The chief told Goedert that was prompted by an anonymous call he had received regarding Mayer. The police tried to look into it, but it was anonymous, so it was difficult to investigate or track. [page 4 begins] Other calls that came into the station were only rumors and hearsay, mostly based on his past. [Goedert's dealings with the Des Plaines police are documented in Ex. 8.] Goedert said he asked Mayer if he was "doing it" and Mayer said no. Goedert said he told Mayer that he would unfortunately have to live with rumor for the rest of his life because of the case publicity. I commented on three things here:

1) "Rumor" – with this man, Mayer, and his kinds of problems the Archdiocese couldn't afford not to investigate any and all rumors. Archdiocesan officials said our incident was rumor, hearsay, irrelevant, couldn't be proven . . .

2) Mayer's denial – he denied our boys' incident too

3) Mayer's "unfortunate" circumstance of having to "live with it" – so do we all, including our boys for whom the Archdiocese did nothing, not even ask how they are.

There, you've accomplished quite a bit, Goedert said. Because of you the Archdiocese is treating these cases differently. I've had [page 5 begins] to deal with some. The system has changed, he said. Now, the first thing we do is call the family and inquire about the boys, try to get them into counseling. Goedert says he has a case right now where they've offered counseling to the boy.

As a matter of fact, Goedert explained, psychs, priests and bishops are meeting in Oakbrook this week to discuss the problem. He said it's like alcoholism 10 years ago – then there was a stigma and nobody wanted to talk about it. This problem always existed, but now it is trying to be understood and taken care of. I said it was nice they were meeting, but one element was still missing – families' input of what happens in these instances.

Goedert said he had met with Serritella and the Cardinal to try and find out what he could reveal to me. He said he couldn't tell me results, but that Mayer's been under psychological counseling and is currently undergoing a battery of psychological testing. The Archdiocese is waiting for the psych's recommendations. He said Mayer's under mandate of the Archdiocese, which means that he is not allowed to have unsupervised [page 6 begins] contact with minor children. [In fact, the mandate resulted from the Des Plaines complaint, as shown by Ex. 10.] But, Goedert said, there's little they can do if children choose to follow him. He said that Goedert had a sort of charisma with young people – they follow him and admire him. There's one young man who is a priest today because of Fr. Mayer. He has nothing but the deepest admiration for him.

I said that of course, children follow him, his "charisma" comes from supplying young people with alcohol and letting them, giving permission for them, to do what their parents don't allow them to do. I said I knew of a specific case at St. Stephen's where his "initiation process" was put into play with one young boy (8th grade) and the family chose to move out of the parish as a result. I had reported this to Fr. Ventura.

I told Fr. Goedert that I thought it was nice that Mayer was getting counseling, but this man has major problems which need long-term, in-depth, clinical help. He should not have been put back in a parish, in the same environment – and only miles away where he is accessible to the boys of his previous parishes. His "counseling" sessions [page 7 begins] were as ludicrous as lecturing an alcoholic and sitting him back up at a bar and saying, now, don't drink anymore." It doesn't work.

Goedert assured me that the pastor [Rev. Leonard T. Mezydlo] is trained in psychology, is aware of Mayer's problems and is observing him. I said I understood that the pastor is ill and resides four floors away from Mayer. [See Ex. 10, para. 4.]

We spoke some more in general about pedophilia. He said I could be a help to him in this new position of his – and he believed a parent's point of view would be good to have. We set a meeting date for Sat 1:30 at [redacted]'s. [Beneath the word meeting, apparently in the same hand as the addition on the first page, is the date 11/15/86.]

[unnumbered page 8 begins]

[On this mostly blank page, there are two notes hastily written but apparently in the same hand and the account of the conversation with Goedert.]


[word or two redacted] invitation to dinner
Talk about where to meet


Record Breakfast
mtg wt [word or two redacted]



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