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  Woman Claims Sex Abuse by Priest
Says He Fathered Her Child

By Brian Brueggemann
Belleville News-Democrat
January 28, 2004

EDWARDSVILLE -- A woman claims in a lawsuit she was sexually abused and had a child by a priest in Madison County, and two other priests did nothing to stop the abuse.

The plaintiff, 46-year-old Virginia "Jenny" Galloway, who now resides in Georgia, claims she had a child by the Rev. Richard Niebrugge, who is deceased, in February 1978, when she was 20. Galloway, who was a foster child and was under Niebrugge's care, claims the priest began sexually abusing her when she was 10.

Galloway filed suit Tuesday in Madison County Circuit Court against the Catholic Diocese of Springfield, the Catholic Diocese of Belleville, Monsignor Theodore Baumann and the Rev. Herman Niebrugge, a brother of Richard Niebrugge.

The suit claims Baumann, a Belleville Diocese priest now serving St. Joseph Parish in Freeburg, and Herman Niebrugge, a Springfield Diocese priest now serving Immaculate Conception parish in Mattoon, knew about the abuse but did not report it.

Galloway's attorney, Rex Carr, said Galloway met Richard Niebrugge when he served a parish in Alton or Springfield, but most of their time together was during his service at Ss. Peter and Paul Church in Collinsville.

Carr said Galloway and Richard Niebrugge sometimes spent the night at Baumann's home when Baumann was pastor at a parish in the Belleville Diocese.

"The two of them stayed together in his house, slept together in Baumann's house. He knew this was going on and didn't do anything to stop it," Carr said.

Galloway and Richard Niebrugge also spent nights at the home of Herman Niebrugge, possibly while Herman Niebrugge was pastor at a church in Effingham, Carr said.

"They would stay with him from time to time. He was aware of the relationship and also did nothing about it," Carr said.

Carr said Galloway, who married another man during the pregnancy, suffers extensive psychological problems, in part from being abused by her parents but also because of the relationship with Richard Niebrugge.

"She's got about six different personalities that come out from time to time. She's very seriously ill from a psychiatric viewpoint," he said. "A significant portion's been done because of a relationship with a priest."

Carr said no DNA tests have been conducted to verify paternity of the child.

"I expect it will get confirmed in time," he said. "There's a lot of things that check out -- where she was, who was there. There are millions of factual statements that connect him to her, and I've got no reason to doubt them, quite frankly."

Baumann and the Rev. James Margason of the chancery office at the Belleville Diocese could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Kathie Sass, a spokesman for the Springfield Diocese, said officials from the Springfield Diocese have been contacted by Galloway's lawyer and are aware of her claim.

"We want, to the best of our ability, to find out what happened and make sure some healing occurs," Sass said. "We do take any allegation respectfully. If anyone has been abused, we want to do what is right."

Richard Niebrugge died in 1983. Sass said she had no information available Tuesday on which parishes he served and when he served them.

Carr said Richard Niebrugge and Galloway also were together while Richard Niebrugge served parishes in Edwardsville and Decatur.

 
 

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