Statement Regarding Reverend F. Lee Ryan
Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet
September 13, 2012
In late May of 2010 then Bishop J. Peter Sartain of the Diocese of Joliet informed the members of St. Edmund Parish in Watseka, Illinois and St. Joseph Mission in Crescent City, Illinois that their pastor, Father F. Lee Ryan was being placed on administrative leave because of a serious allegation of sexual abuse of a minor, alleged to have been perpetrated many years before.
The case was reviewed by the diocesan Review Committee and subsequently sent to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, as required by church law. That congregation determined that, under church law in force at the time of the alleged abuse, Father Ryan was not guilty of a grave delict (serious crime) and therefore could not be removed permanently from ministry.
Nevertheless, the local bishop always retains the right and obligation to manage the ministry of the diocese’s clergy for their welfare and the good of the people. After carefully reviewing the case, Bishop R. Daniel Conlon, current Bishop of Joliet, has determined that Father Ryan may provide priestly ministry to the homebound parishioners of St. Edmund Parish and St. Joseph Mission, as approved by the current pastor. From time to time Father Ryan may request a review of this arrangement.