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  Archdiocese Removes 11 Priests Accused of Sexual Misconduct

By Stacy St. Clair and Dave Orrick
Chicago Daily Herald
September 27, 2005

Cardinal Francis George announced Monday he has permanently removed 11 priests accused of sexual misconduct from public ministry.

"In each of the 11 cases, Cardinal George has determined, based on the information presented, that sexual misconduct did occur," the Chicago Archdiocese said in a prepared statement.

The removed priests are prohibited from engaging in public ministry and presenting themselves as priests, church officials said. They also may not act as agents of the archdiocese or wear Roman collars.

The decision follows the Vatican's two-year review of 14 sexual misconduct cases involving local clergy members. Church officials in Rome affirmed the cardinal's recommendation in all instances, according to the archdiocese.

In addition to the 11 removed priests, the cardinal ordered a church trial be conducted for two others - the Rev. John Callicott of Chicago and the Rev. Thomas Swade, the former coordinator for the archdiocese office of racial justice. He also closed the case involving the late Rev. Marion Snieg - who had served at St. Thomas Villanova in Palatine - saying no further action could be pursued because Snieg is now deceased.

Archdiocese officials say they passed the men's names along to civil authorities, but critics still fault their handling of the investigations.

"This belated, begrudging action might be some relief to victims, but it does not relieve the cardinal of his responsibilities," said Barbara Blaine, president of the Chicago- based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "He has shielded these men for too long."

The archdiocese refused to publicly release the names of the punished clergymen on Monday or detail the accusations against them. Church officials, however, confirmed the names read one by one from a list obtained by the Daily Herald.

Of the 14, eight have ties to churches in suburban Cook and Lake counties. Parishioners were told of the cardinal's decision during weekend Masses.

The announcement was extremely difficult for members of St. James parish in Arlington Heights to hear, the Rev. William J. Zavaski said. During the service, Zavaski said he read a letter from the diocese stating the church's beloved former pastor, R. Peter Bowman, "had been found guilty" of sexual misconduct and was among those stripped of his collar.

Bowman, who left the Arlington Heights church in 1995 to become an archdiocese administrator, often was credited with helping to double the parish's size during his 18-year tenure.

"They're very pained by the situation," Zavaski said. "He was a wonderful pastor here."

The accused priests with suburban ties include:

- R. Peter Bowman, served at St. James Church in Arlington Heights from 1978 to 1995. Accused of sexual misconduct with a teenage boy nearly 50 years ago.

- Daniel Buck, served at St. Mary Church in Buffalo Grove when he was relieved of his duties. Also served at St. Thomas of Villanova in Palatine from 1984 to 1989. Accused of misconduct against a teenage girl while serving at a Chicago parish in the early 1980s.

- Walter Huppenbauer, served at St. Gilbert in Grayslake and St. Thomas of Villanova in Palatine. Accused of molesting an underage girl more than 40 years ago while serving a Chicago parish.

- Robert Kealy, served at Faith, Hope and Charity in Winnetka, St. Norbert Church in Northbrook and Immaculate Conception in Highland Park. Accused of abusing a teen in the 1970s while serving in Oak Lawn.

- James Ray, accused of abusing a boy while serving at St. Peter Damian in Bartlett from 1984 to 1989. Also served at Transfiguration Church in Wauconda from 1989 to 1991.

- John Robinson, served at Queen of the Rosary Church in Elk Grove Village. Accused of sexual misconduct with a teenage boy while serving a Chicago parish roughly 50 years ago.

- Raymond F. Skriba, served at St. Joseph Church in Round Lake. Accused of abusing two girls while serving in Franklin Park in the 1960s.

- Marion Snieg, now deceased. Served at St. Thomas Villanova in Palatine 1993-2002. Also served Addolorata Villa assisted living center in Wheeling from 1993 to 1996.

 
 

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