Peoria Diocese Members Must Answer Questions in Sex Abuse Lawsuit
May 27, 2013
PEORIA — The bishop and the vicar general of the Catholic Diocese of Peoria must answer questions in a sexual abuse lawsuit filed five years ago against the diocese and a deceased Twin City priest, under an order entered in Peoria County Circuit Court.
Lawyers for Andrew Ward, 25, a former student at Epiphany School in Normal, challenged the diocese’s refusal to require that Bishop Daniel Jenky and Chancellor Patricia Gibson appear for a deposition in Ward’s 2008 lawsuit. Ward, who now lives in Michigan, has accused Monsignor Thomas Maloney, who died in 2009, of sexually abusing him at Epiphany Catholic Church between 1995 and 1996 when he was in second grade.
The diocese resisted the deposition, saying both leaders took office in 2002, long after the alleged abuse took place, and the same year Maloney retired from active ministry for health reasons.
The deadline for the depositions, initially set for May 25, has been extended to accommodate scheduling conflicts, said Jeff Anderson, one of Ward’s lawyers. A Sept. 9 trial is scheduled in the lawsuit.
The order for the depositions sets out strict rules for how the bishop and chancellor will respond to questions about the alleged abuse.
The depositions will last no more than 90 minutes. The scope of questions for Jenky will be limited to what he learned and the actions taken after 2002 as they relate to Maloney’s activities as a priest. Questions about policies for dealing with sexual abuse claims that were in effect in 2002, or created later, also will be allowed, according to the court order.
Several other areas are off limits, including opinions related to decisions or actions taken by previous officials, including former Peoria Bishop John Myers, now the archbishop of Newark, and former Vicar General John Campbell, under terms of the order.
Gibson, who also is the diocese’s general counsel, must answer questions about any investigations of Maloney she may have conducted and the communications she may have exchanged with the former priest after April 2002.
Myers, who previously was deposed for four hours, is currently under fire in New Jersey in a case where a pedophile priest was allowed to work with children after the diocese signed an agreement with authorities that he would be banned from such contact.