|Suit against Deceased B-N Priest Moves Forward
By Edith Brady Lunny
April 20, 2010
A lawsuit against a deceased Twin City priest and the Catholic Diocese of Peoria is moving forward amid international focus on how the Vatican is addressing abuse.
A Peoria County circuit judge has set a May 7 conference to review scheduling in the lawsuit filed by Andrew Ward, 22, a former student at Epiphany School in Normal, who accuses the late Monsignor Thomas Maloney of sexually abusing him at Epiphany Catholic Church between 1995 and 1996. Ward alleges the abuse took place when he was in the second grade.
The diocese said Maloney's death last year should end the legal action, but a judge disagreed. Ward, who now lives in Michigan, has asked that his identity be publicly disclosed.
Despite repeated attempts, the diocese has declined requests for comment on the case moving forward.
In May 2009, the diocese settled 13 lawsuits involving claims against priests, including former Monsignor Norman Goodman and former priest Louis Condon, who both served in Lincoln. Two other lawsuits are pending against the diocese.
The settlements end all claims by those individuals against the diocese, the priests involved and the churches where the priests served. The diocese also accepts no liability and the agreements end the diocese's obligation to pay for any further counseling.
Jeff Anderson, the attorney for Ward and a case involving 200 deaf students allegedly molested by a priest in Wisconsin, said a direct connection exists between the Vatican and abuse by certain priests.
"I've always known that all roads lead to Rome," said Anderson.
The Vatican has posted an online guide outlining the rules bishops are required to follow when sexual abuse claims are received. Bishops are urged to report claims of abuse to civil authorities if required by local law.
Jeff Jones, leader of Peoria Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, who settled last year with the diocese, said the latest addition to church policy is unacceptable.
"Nothing has changed. The church is totally responding to pressure. It's a complete insult to me and other survivors of abuse," Jones said.
In addition to Ward's case filed in 2008, victims allege the diocese did not pay for counseling as promised.
SNAP says Bishop Daniel Jenky is withholding payment on more than $438,000 for nine cases.
When Jenky arrived in Peoria in 2002, he said the diocese would provide counseling for all victims.
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