Lawsuit claims Diocese of Joliet concealed priest’s sexual misconduct from others

Herald-News [Joliet IL]

March 19, 2023

By Felix Sarver

A lawsuit filed in Will County claimed the Diocese of Joliet actively concealed the sexual misconduct of one of its priests who now is being sued by the estate of one of his alleged victims, who died last year.

The lawsuit was filed March 1 by a plaintiff going under the fictitious name of Jane Doe. She was appointed as administrator of the estate of John Doe, the fictitious name for the alleged victim of former priest Alejandro Flores.

In 2010, Flores pleaded guilty in Kane County to sexually abusing a boy. He was deported to his native Bolivia after serving most of his prison sentence.

John Doe, the alleged victim, was born in 2000 and died at age 21 on March 6, 2022, at a rehabilitation center in California, according to the lawsuit.

The woman also filed a petition to keep their names private because of the “highly sensitive and personal nature of the harm” involved in the case.

“John Doe suffered sexual violence, including but not limited to isolation, manipulation, control, exploitation, abuse and assault abuse at Cathedral of St. Raymond Nonnatus by Father Alejandro Flores,” according to the woman’s petition.

The lawsuit claimed Flores’ sexual abuse of John Doe took place between 2008 and 2009 at the cathedral, 604 N. Raynor Ave., Joliet. The cathedral is part of the diocese.

When contacted about the lawsuit, the diocese communications office said March 14 in an email that the diocese only recently has been made aware of the litigation. The diocese office said it is its position to not comment on pending litigation.

Jane Doe’s lawsuit alleged that based “upon information and belief,” the Diocese of Joliet “actively concealed the sexual misconduct” of Flores from John Doe while Flores was a priest at the cathedral.

“Upon information and belief, in 2009, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet reassigned Flores to St. Philomena’s Roman Catholic Church, as part of an effort to conceal, minimize and avoid liability for the sexual misconduct with minor children by Flores,” according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleged Flores was permanently removed from ministry in 2018, and then laicized – reduced from clergyman to layman – in 2020.

John Doe had disassociated himself from Flores’ sexual abuse “by way of the great pain and anguish created by the abuse,” and he was only able to recognize his injuries resulting from Flores’ abuse in July 2020, according to the lawsuit. Those injuries included depression, anxiety, addiction, difficulty trusting others, embarrassment and other problems

Jane Doe’s lawsuit is holding the diocese, the cathedral and other entities tied to the diocese liable for Flores’ alleged abuse and concealment of that abuse. She also is suing Flores himself for allegedly assaulting John Doe.