|Judge Dismisses Sex Suits against Priests
Plaintiffs Waited Too Long to Sue, Court Rules
By Michael Miller
June 23, 2007
PEORIA - Lawsuits against three Roman Catholic priests and the Catholic Diocese of Peoria alleging sexual abuse were dismissed Monday in Peoria County Circuit Court.
Judge Joe Vespa ruled the plaintiffs had waited too long after the alleged incidents to sue under Illinois law.
The two lawsuits were brought by:
- Jean Anderson of Peoria, who accused Edward Bush of molesting her in the early 1960s at St. Thomas Grade School in Peoria Heights. Bush has been removed from public ministry and now lives in Rock Island.
- Mary Krusz, who accused both Louis Condon, now of Moline, of molesting her in the late 1950s at a church in Lincoln and Norman Goodman, now of Pekin, in the 1960s or early 1970s, also in Lincoln. Both men also have been removed from public ministry.
The suits were dismissed at the request of both the priests' and diocese's lawyers.
Barbara Blaine of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests said Friday it was "extremely disappointing that the diocese is continuing to fight these cases on mere technicalities (rather) than on the merits of the case."
"It's a cowardly response from the church and it assists them in keeping their dirty secrets hidden, but it does nothing to protect children who may be exposed to these men today," said the SNAP president.
Diocesan chancellor Patricia Gibson disagreed.
"It is important to remember that Bishop (Daniel) Jenky, from the beginning, has taken swift action in removing individuals from public ministry regardless of whether or not the cases involved litigation," Gibson said in a statement.
"Further, it cannot be forgotten that the bishop's promise to pay for professional counseling for as long as it is needed, in and of itself, is an enormous financial commitment. The Diocese of Peoria considers the needs of the entire faithful within the Diocese of Peoria when exorbitant demands are made on the diocesan assets. Particularly, when these demands are placed regarding cases dating back to over 40 or 50 years ago. It becomes difficult, if not impossible, to clearly investigate such cases due to the length of time since such alleged allegations took place, which is why the law sets statutes of limitations regarding the filing of lawsuits."
Michael Miller can be reached at 686-3106 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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