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  Joliet Diocese Relieves Naperville Hospital Chaplain of Duties
Abuse Allegations Date Back to '70s

By David Heinzmann
Chicago Tribune
April 13, 2002

For the second time in a week, the Diocese of Joliet has removed a priest from hospital chaplain duties, acknowledging "credible" allegations of sexual abuse stemming from the 1970s.

Rev. Phillip Dedera has been a chaplain at Naperville's Edward Hospital for the last four years. He also is a chaplain at St. Patrick's Residence, a Naperville nursing home. Church officials said Friday that they removed Dedera "from any type of ministry, effective immediately."

The diocese removed Rev. Gary Berthiaume from his chaplain duties at Downers Grove's Good Samaritan Hospital last week after it was revealed that he had been convicted of abusing a child in Michigan 24 years ago.

The diocese released no details about the alleged abuse by Dedera, but it said the abuse was reported recently by a person who is now more than 40.

Church officials said they are seeking more information about Dedera.

"Anyone who may be aware of any inappropriate activity by Father Dedera is asked to come forward," the diocese chancery office said in a news release.

Diocesan officials did not respond to questions about Dedera. Spokeswoman Sister Judith Davies asked the Tribune to fax questions about Dedera to her office. But she did not respond to the questions Friday.

Dedera has been living at the St. Thomas the Apostle parish rectory, next door to St. Patrick's Residence, said nursing home administrator Sister Anthony Veilleux. A receptionist at St. Thomas said the parish's staff priests were unavailable for comment Friday.

Officials at both the nursing home and the hospital said Dedera no longer worked there.

Dedera "is no longer a part of our ministry," Veilleux said. "While Rev. Dedera served as chaplain, he was highly regarded by the residents, their families and the staff."

She said there was no known evidence of misconduct by Dedera at the nursing home.

Edward officials said there have had no allegations about Dedera at the hospital.

"We are extremely troubled by the allegations," hospital spokesman Brian Davis said. "We just heard about them today. We have no knowledge of any other allegations of misconduct."

Dedera was assigned to the hospital by the diocese and was not an Edward employee, Davis said. He was one of several chaplains that Edward's staff chaplain would call, depending on a patient's needs or faith, he said.

Dedera was pastor of St. Patrick's Church in Momence in Kankakee County in the early '90s. A parish employee said that he was well known and liked beyond the parish and had served on the library board.

 
 

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