Chicago-area diocese agrees $1.4M settlement in priest abuse

Associated Press

September 1, 2018

By Herbert G. McCann

A suburban Chicago Catholic diocese has agreed to pay $1.4 million to settle a lawsuit filed by three men who say they were molested by their priest when they were boys.

The three men, who requested anonymity, say they were repeatedly abused by Father Leonard Mateo of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet between 1980 and 1982. They were all under the age of 11. They made the allegations against Mateo in 2014.

Announcing the settlement Thursday, plaintiffs’ attorneys said Bishop Joseph Imesch admitted in a deposition that priests with credible sexual abuse allegations were allowed to continue ministry within the Diocese of Joliet without any warning to parishioners.

“This is a priest who was continuously moved from one parish to the next upon allegations of sexual misconduct, normalizing his sexual abuse of children and dispelling any notion it was wrong,” attorney Antonio M. Romanucci said.

The settlement reached in Will County Circuit Court will be distributed between the plaintiffs.

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