Suburban Woman, Others Say Priest Abused Them

By Sara Burnett
Chicago Daily Herald
November 6, 2003

Three women, including one from the Northwest suburbs, filed a civil lawsuit Wednesday against a priest they say sexually abused them while they were students at Loyola University in Chicago in the 1970s.

The suit, filed in Cook County, brings to seven the number of women who say they were abused by the Rev. John Powell, a Jesuit priest and author.

The women, two of whom wanted to become nuns, were in their late teens when they went to Powell "for counseling and spiritual guidance" but were instead abused, attorney Marc Pearlman said.

Today the women - including one from Iowa and another from the Kankakee area - are in their 40s and are married with children.

Pearlman said the women didn't report the crimes at the time because they were fearful of Powell's stature and popularity. Each believed they were the only victims until they heard about the lawsuits filed in September.

"Their lives have been profoundly influenced by this," Pearlman said. "Until very recently, they suffered in secrecy and silence."

The suit, which asks for more than $50,000 in damages and fees per plaintiff, also accuses the Jesuits, through the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus, of ignoring a victim's complaint against Powell in the early 1980s.

The Rev. James P. Gschwend, provincial delegate for the Chicago province, denied that claim, saying it is "not our normal way of proceeding."

"We have the greatest care and concern for the person bringing (complaints) forward," Gschwend said. "If they had come to us, we would have dealt with it. I'm sorry they felt they had to go through their attorney."

Powell, 78, has been ill and living in a retirement community in the Detroit area for several years, Gschwend said. He was taken off active status - meaning he can no longer perform priestly duties - after the first lawsuit was filed in September.

Powell is one of the most published religious writers in North America. His books include "Stories from My Heart," "The Secret of Staying in Love" and "Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am?"


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.
guide of business management sytem guide of job opinions guide of capital goods guide of make fast money guide of Debt restructuring guide of home business guide of income money guide of hospital products guide of international market guide of repair roof before winter guide of website income guide of secure your business guide of face makeup tools guide of jewellery arts guide of tv shows guide of best places on earth guide of job plans guide of cheap cars guide of creating products guide of women tools guide of eat less guide of car insurance process guide of sport stuff guide of garden home guide of cheap insurances guide of electronic tech guide of healthy feeding guide of what is next in fashion guide of improve company guide of tactical insurance guide of make money at home guide of development in business guide of dept loan guide of cooking secrets guide of correct companies guide of jobs with more income guide of reviews o general products guide of improving technology guide of ideal job guide of business sectors guide of dept problem guide of unlimited business guide of suitable insurance company guide of money cars guide of how to market guide of heatlhy diet tips guide of decoration tipse guide of security problems