Belleville Diocese Priests Ousted from Ministry

Belleville News-Democrat
March 7, 2003

The Belleville Diocese has removed 15 priests and one deacon since March 1993 for allegations of sexual abuse of a child or sexual misconduct. The priests could face a trial in a church court.

March 5, 1993 — The Rev. Jerome Ratermann, 71, pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church in Belleville.

March 18, 1993 — The Rev. James Calhoun, deceased, former pastor at St. Boniface Church in Germantown.

March 18, 1993 — The. Rev. Robert Vonnahmen, 72, former director of the diocese-sponsored Camp Ondessonk.

March 30, 1993 — The Rev. David Crook, 51, pastor of St. George Church in New Baden.

April 25, 1993 — The Rev. Robert Chlopecki, 55, pastor of St. Ann Church in Nashville.

May 5, 1993 — Deacon Francis Theis, manager of the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows gift shop, was placed on administrative leave over allegations of sexually abusing a minor. Theis is no longer listed in the diocese directory.

May 9, 1993 — The Rev. Eugene Linnemann, 48, pastor of St. Patrick Church in Ruma.

Sept. 13, 1993 — The Rev. Edwin Kastner, 81, pastor of St. Rose Church in St. Rose.

Jan. 24, 1994 — The Rev. Louis Peterson, 55, pastor of St. Teresa Church in Belleville.

Feb. 4, 1994 — The Rev. Walter MacPherson, 80, pastor of St. Martin of Tours Church in Washington Park.

Dec. 6, 1994 — Monsignor Joseph Schwaegel, 66, admitted he was placed on leave from St. Peter's Cathedral in Belleville to be treated for a sexual addiction.

Jan. 13, 1995 — The Rev. Raymond Kownacki, 68, a former pastor at St. Martin of Tours Church in Washington Park.

Oct. 19, 1998 — The Rev. Alan Ruppert, 50, pastor of St. Clement Church in McLeansboro and St. John Nepomucene in Dahlgren, and former pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in Centreville.

April 2002 — The Rev. Edward Balestrieri, 71, administrator of St. Mary Parish in Sesser.

If the Diocesan Review Board upholds their removal from ministry, the following priests could face trial in a church court:

Sept. 20, 2002 — The Rev. Daniel L. Friedman, 57, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Church in Aviston and formerly chaplain at Camp Ondessonk. In 1995, he became the only priest cleared by a diocesan review, but the new national abuse policy dictated his case be revisited.

Oct. 21, 2002 — The Rev. William F. Rensing, 73, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Sparta.


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