Diocese Settles Lawsuit
But 2 Cases Remain on Sex-Abusive Priest
By Jerry Shnay
December 1, 1994
The Catholic Diocese of Joliet has agreed to an out-of-court settlement with a Will County teenager who was sexually molested by a priest now serving a 4-year prison term.
Although terms were not made public, sources said the youth, called John Roe in court papers, and his family will be paid a "six-figure sum" to drop the civil case against the diocese and Myles Patrick White.
A priest for 25 years, White was accused of numerous acts of sexual battery while the diocese "knew or should have known" what was going on but did nothing.
"All I can say is that the settlement involved releasing the diocese and White from all further claims," said Bloomingdale lawyer Joseph Klest, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the youth and his mother in August 1993.
But Klest still has two other suits pending in Will County involving White and the diocese.
In one case, he alleges that a male, known as Jim Doe, 30, in court papers, was the victim of illicit sexual contact with White when he was a teenager.
In the other, the diocese and White are named as defendants in a $5 million suit filed in December 1992 for a couple who allege their son suffered from similar abuse more than 20 years ago that eventually led to his suicide.
White was ordained in 1968 and served in Hinsdale, Lombard and Clarendon Hills before becoming pastor of St. Boniface Church in Monee in 1978. It was there that John Roe met the priest, who was active in youth counseling.
White encouraged the boy to spend nights with him, and they began having sex when the youth was a 14-year-old high school freshman. Those acts, over a three-year span, continued in Illinois and White's residence in Culver, Ind., until the priest was arrested in 1992 and pleaded guilty to molesting the youth.
In the lawsuit, Klest had alleged that the diocese's chancery office was told of White's illicit sexual activities but did nothing.
That created an atmosphere where White felt free "to commit acts of sexual abuse without fear of prosecution," Klest said in the suit.
White's activities came to light after he donated a videotape of a local parade that was sold at a Culver flea market. The buyer, who was a friend of a county prosecutor, told officials that when viewing the tape he also saw a 30-minute segment of White having sex with a youth.
That boy is John Roe.
Law-enforcement officials seized pornographic magazines and videos when they searched the priest's Indiana residence. Similar items were found in White's bedroom at the St. Martin of Tours rectory in Kankakee.
White is in the Joliet Correctional Center. He is scheduled to be released in April.
In the Jim Doe case, the plaintiff says that his pants were stripped by White in front of some other people and that White later fondled the youth's genitals.
It was while White was an associate pastor at St. Isaac Jogues Church in Hinsdale that he allegedly abused a teenage boy over a five-year span. In 1990, the alleged victim, then 36, committed suicide.
White's lawyer, Gerald Haberkorn, said he was "happy" that one suit had been settled, but he declined further comment.
Sister Judith Davies of the chancery office said she was aware that the John Roe case had been settled, but could not comment about the case.
Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.
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