Two Brothers Claim Abuse by Priests

May 24, 2006

(STNG) JOLIET, Ill. Two brothers are filing civil child molestation lawsuits Wednesday, claiming they were abused by two different Catholic priests while attending St. Mary's Parish in Mokena, according to a release from the alleged victims' attorneys.

Dan Shanahan and Tim Shanahan claim they were abused in the late 1970s and early 1980s, according to the release from attorney Marc Pearlman. Dan Shanahan claims he was abused by Fr. James Burnett from 1978-82 while he was 8-12 years old, according to the release, while Tim Shanahan alleges he was abused as a seventh-grader by Fr. William D. Virtue.

Dan Shanahan, 34, publicly disclosed his abuse, and reported it to Joliet Diocese officials in February 2006, at which time Bishop Joseph Imesch suspended the cleric, who was working at the Cathedral of St. Raymond in Joliet, the release said.

On Wednesday, a suit filed on behalf of Tim Shanahan, 38, currently in prison in Vienna for drug possession and driving without a license, claims he was repeatedly victimized by Fr. Virtue in 1981-81 in the rectory, confessional and other places at St. Mary's in Mokena, the release said.

Virtue, ordained in 1975, has worked at 11 parishes in the Joliet, Rockford and Peoria dioceses, including parishes in Bolingbrook and Mokena, most recently at St. Teresa in Earlville, from where he was suspended in February 2006 over sexual abuse allegations, the release said.

Burnett, ordained in 1968, worked at four Joliet Diocese parishes, St. Charles Borromeo in Bensenville (1969-75), St. Mary in Mokena (1976-90), Sts. Peter and Paul in Naperville (1991-2002) and most recently at St. Raymond in Joliet before being suspended, the release said.


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