Church Told Long Ago of Possible Misconduct

Chicago Tribune [Belleville, Ill.]
March 11, 1994

Catholic Church leaders were warned more than 25 years ago of possible sexual misconduct by a priest who was eventually removed last year after similar allegations, a priest and a former priest say. Rev. Clyde Grogan and former priest Bill Longust said they met with the late Bishop Albert Zuroweste of Belleville in 1968 or 1969, hoping he would investigate a church-affiliated camp in Johnson County, then under the direction of the Rev. Robert Vonnahmen. Grogan said reports of misconduct had come from campers and people who worked at the camp. He said the suspicions were reported again in 1976 or 1977 and then in 1985 to two successor bishops, William Cosgrove and James Keleher. Keleher removed Vonnahmen from the camp in 1985, reportedly for unrelated reasons, and then removed him from his parish in Elizabethtown in 1993 because of an allegation that he had sexually abused a minor more than 25 years ago. Eight other Belleville diocesan priests and a deacon have been accused of sexual misconduct in unrelated incidents.


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