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  Bishop Asked to Aid in Search
Priest Accused: Illinois Allegations Call Attention to the Rev. Theodore Feely's Time in Riverside

By Michael Fisher
Press Enterprise (Riverside, CA)
January 20, 2005

An advocacy group is urging Bishop Gerald Barnes to make personal announcements at three Riverside churches reaching out to anyone might have been a molestation victim of a former Inland priest accused of sexual misconduct in the Midwest. Two Illinois men have accused the Rev. Theodore Feely, now deceased, of abusing them at a Rockford, Ill., church in the 1970s, according to the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, a national self-help group for victims of clergy abuse. The accusations led the group to send a letter to Barnes on Tuesday, asking the Roman Catholic bishop to visit the Riverside churches where Feely worked during parts of the 1960s, '70s and '80s to ask anyone who had been a victim of or a witness to sexual misconduct by the priest to come forward. The group also asked Barnes to post notices about Feely on the San Bernardino Diocese's Web site and in church bulletins and diocesan newspapers.

"Bishop Barnes now has a moral obligation to reach out to others who may have been hurt by Feely," Mary Grant, the group's southwest regional director, said in a written statement. Diocesan leaders are reviewing the letter, the Rev. Howard Lincoln, spokesman for the San Bernardino Diocese, said Wednesday.

Feely, a Franciscan friar, died in 1991, said John Huston with the Conventual Franciscan Friars of the Province of St. Bonaventure in Chicago. Houston said the religious order offered counseling to the two men who have lodged accusations against Feely and set up a telephone hot line for victims. No other accusers have come forward, he said.

Jeffery Anderson, a Minnesota lawyer representing one of Feely's accusers, said his client alleges that as a teenager, he was molested by the priest multiple times between 1969 and 1973. Anderson said his client has not sued.

Ordained in 1958, Feely worked at St. Thomas Catholic Church and Queen of Angels, both in Riverside, in the 1960s, Anderson said. Feely worked in Rockford from 1969 to 1973. He returned to Riverside in 1976, working at St. Thomas and Our Lady of Guadalupe until 1979.

After assignments in Norwalk and Stockton, he returned to Queen of Angels in 1983. He left in 1989 for a Reno church, where he remained until his death in 1991, Anderson said.

 
 

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