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Church Confirms Identity of 3 of 8 Priests Reviewed

By Todd Lighty and Monica Davey
Chicago Tribune
June 20, 2002

The Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago confirmed Wednesday that three priests--one at a hospital and two at church desk jobs--are among eight clerics whose old sexual misconduct cases are being re-evaluated under a new national child sex-abuse policy adopted by U.S. Catholic bishops last week in Dallas.

The priests--James Ray, Thomas Swade and Richard Bartz--were removed from parish ministry in the 1980s and 1990s after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced, according to church officials.

All three have been involved in limited ministry since, said James Dwyer, spokesman for the archdiocese.

Swade, 66, has an administrative position with the archdiocese's office for racial justice. Ray, 53, has a desk job working in health-care related social services.

Bartz, 53, until a couple weeks ago, was a chaplain for the Chicago Institute of Neurosurgery and Neuroresearch Medical Group in Ravenswood Hospital.

One of Bartz's alleged victims, Pat Navin, said the archdiocese should have acted a decade ago when he first reported his complaint.

"He should have been removed then," said Navin, who was 18 when Bartz allegedly abused him in 1976 during a Wisconsin ski trip. "He had another allegation involving a minor. He had multiple cases in his file. Hadn't he at least forfeited his privileges to administer the sacraments?"

Bartz, Ray and Swade could not be reached for comment.

They are among eight priests in the archdiocese who could be barred from any ministry.

The archdiocese would not reveal the names of the others and only confirmed Bartz, Ray and Swade after the Tribune offered specific names.

Previously, the archdiocese had confirmed that Rev. John Calicott, 54, accused of abusing two 15-year-old boys in the early 1990s, also likely could be removed as pastor of Holy Angels Catholic Church on the South Side.

The priests, each of whom denied the allegations during investigations years ago by an independent fitness review board, will be able to appeal, according to the archdiocese.

Archdiocese officials declined to release any other names of priests involved and said in a news release that they would release no additional details about the specifics of the removal process until it is complete.

Cardinal Francis George was in the process of individually meeting with the eight priests, Dwyer said.

"We are reviewing each situation to make sure it conforms with what happened in Dallas," Dwyer said. "We will have a decision soon."

In Dallas, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops adopted a national standard to remove from ministry any priest ever found to have abused a child, even once. Dwyer said all the allegations against Ray, Swade and Bartz were from years ago.

In 1987, Bartz was accused of abusing several minors and was removed from parish ministry but eventually reassigned as a hospital chaplain, Dwyer said.

Then, five years later, Navin informed archdiocese officials that Bartz allegedly abused him in 1976. In an August 1992 letter to Navin, the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin apologized for what had happened. But Bernardin wrote that Bartz would remain in ministry because he was not a risk to young people.

"As I say, if he had not shown the proper remorse and proper disposition to both reform his actions and follow out the program of treatment laid out for him, I would not have reassigned him," Bernardin wrote.

In November 1991, Ray was removed from Transfiguration parish in Wauconda. Parishioners were told that the charges stemmed from Ray's prior service at St. Peter Damian parish in Bartlett.

In June 1992, Swade was put on administrative leave from St. Dorothy Church, 450 E. 78th St., after a 25-year-old man charged that the priest sexually abused him when he was 14 and involved with a mentoring program for teens. After Swade's removal, five other people accused him of sexual misconduct.

Almost five years later, following Swade's treatment in a rehabilitation program, archdiocese officials proposed that he be allowed to live and assist at Sts. Faith, Hope and Charity Catholic Church in Winnetka. A parish committee rejected the idea after parishioners expressed concern and outrage.

Unlike Swade's situation, the parishioners at Holy Angels welcomed the return of Calicott to the parish in 1996.

In spring 1994, Bernardin removed Calicott from parish ministry at Holy Angels. But after Calicott completed treatment, Bernardin took the extraordinary step of reinstating him, saying Calicott was not a risk to children.

 
 

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