Peoria Diocese Settles Sex Abuse Lawsuit

Associated Press State & Local Wire
April 4, 2005

The Catholic Diocese of Peoria has settled a lawsuit filed by a 37-year-old man who had sought $1 million in damages, alleging he was sexually abused two decades ago by three former priests.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. A spokeswoman for the diocese and attorneys for both sides declined to elaborate on the agreement with Daniel Koenigs, who said he was abused while he was an altar boy from 1980 to 1984 in three Peoria parishes.

"The matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties," said Joseph Klest, Koenigs' attorney.

Koenigs accused former priests Francis Engels, Gregory Plunkett and the late William Harbert with abuse in the civil suit, which was dismissed last month because of the settlement.

The suit also alleged diocese officials allowed the priests to continue in public ministry after other incidents of alleged abuse took place. Koenigs contended former Bishop Edward O'Rourke discovered in the 1970s that Engels and Harbert had been accused of sexual abuse by another family.

Diocese officials have said the diocese didn't hear of abuse accusations against any of the men until 1993. Former Bishop John J. Myers then removed Engels and Harbert from all public ministry, according to the diocese. Harbert died in April 2003.

Plunkett was removed from public ministry in May 2002, according to the diocese.


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