Former Priest at Schaumburg Church Sued for Sexual Abuse
By Kim Geiger and Manya A. Brachear
May 9, 2013
A former parishioner at St. Matthew Catholic Church in Schaumburg sued an ex-Roman Catholic priest and the Archdiocese of Chicago in Cook County Circuit Court on Thursday, accusing the former church leader of sexual abuse.
According to the complaint, the accused, who at the time was a priest, began abusing the plaintiff in 1995, when he was 10 years old, and continued until he was 18.
The suit alleges that the man provided alcohol to the boy and on some occasions gave him $200 or $300. In late 2003 he gave $3,000 to the plaintiff, now 28, and secured a written assurance that the abuse would not be reported to law enforcement or religious authorities, according to the complaint.
In a separate case, victims advocates expressed concern Thursday that a former Chicago priest removed from ministry 20 years ago for a substantiated allegation of sexual misconduct now works as a counselor for Advocate Medical Group in Des Plaines.
Russell Romano, who served as a priest in the Chicago Archdiocese from 1973 to 1991, now reportedly works for the Illinois Professionals Health Program, a publicly funded treatment program for Illinois health care professionals.
"We are looking for answers on how a known predator gets to work as a licensed counselor in Illinois," said Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
A spokesman for Advocate Medical Group did not return calls for comment. Archdiocese officials said they didn't know whether the health group contacted the archdiocese as part of a background check.
"We have no authority over this man or over Advocate," said Colleen Dolan, communications director for the archdiocese. "Regardless of what we do or say, Advocate can do what they want. We have nothing at all to say about him. We're not in a position to know the whereabouts of ex-priests."
In March 2006, the archdiocese posted on its website a list of diocesan priests credibly accused of sexually abusing minors since 1950 — a step long sought by victims advocates. Romano was one of 17 names on the list that had not been previously reported.
Romano could not be reached for comment Thursday.
The Chicago Tribune is not naming the former priest sued Thursday because he is not on that list.