|Investigate Ex-Teacher for Sex Abuse
By Justyna Kruk
January 22, 2010
ILLINOIS -- A former St. Rita faculty member has been temporarily released from his position as head of Senior Services for the City of Berwyn pending a police investigation into molestation charges.
In 1997, a civil lawsuit was filed against former theology teacher and soccer coach Frank Paduch, alleging the former Augustinian brother sexually abused a freshman male in 1980-81.
The lawsuit was settled two years later for an undisclosed amount.
Since 2005, Paduch has been working for the City of Berwyn as a Senior Advocate.
Due to his proximity to a school and community center, members of SNAP, a support group for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, issued a letter to the mayor of Berwyn, Robert Lovero, urging him to remove Paduch from his position, at least temporarily.
Barbara Blaine, president and spokesperson for SNAP feels the city needs to reevaluate Paduch's employee status to protect the citizens of Berwyn.
"I believe that Paduch can and should hold down a job, but that he should not be in a position of authority because that is where sexual predators find their victims," said Blaine.
"His relationship with seniors could lead to connections with children," she added.
A spokesperson for the Augustinian order declined to comment on the impending investigation, but the Archdiocese of Chicago explained its position at the time of the lawsuit.
"The archdiocese was not responsible for the defendant, as he was not an ordained Catholic priest at the time of the alleged abuse," said Susan Burritt, director of the Office of Media Relations for the Chicago Archdiocese.
The Augustinians are responsible for both St. Rita High School and their Brothers, she clarified.
Furthermore, she stated that the plaintiff amended the original lawsuit in order to take the archdiocese out of it.
Blaine, however, argues that the archdiocese uses such reasoning to "shirk responsibility."
"The bottom line is the archdiocese is not doing anything to reach out to potential victims," said Blaine.
"They succeeded in keeping their victims secret, and there is no evidence that they reached out to other victims that could have been abused," she added.
Last Friday, Paduch was suspended from his job as a Berwyn city official.
Berwyn Police Chief William Kushner was quoted as saying that "there is nothing to indicate that (Paduch) posed a threat to anyone during his employment in Berwyn," a statement Blaine finds disappointing and shocking.
"I think it is reckless because, as a police officer, he should know that predators who abuse children usually abuse more children," said Blaine. "So if in fact these allegations are true, then Paduch would pose a risk to the community."
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