Diocese of Joliet
The David Rudofski
Child Protection Archive

A large selection of Joliet diocesan files regarding the sexual abuse of children by priests, and the mishandling of those crimes by the diocese, was released by abuse survivor David Rudofski and his advocates on April 30, 2014.  The release was the latest step in a dramatic story that dates back to the early days of the diocese, which was erected in 1948 from the Chicago archdiocese and the dioceses of Peoria and Rockford.

The documents, which are provided in their entirety below in optimized, easy-to-download form, have much to tell us about the horrifying details of individual cases and the methods used by the Catholic hierarchy to protect the priests involved while containing the information about their crimes.  Rudofski’s struggle to make the documents public highlights the foundational role played by survivors in the somewhat greater accountability we see today, and makes clear what is driving that accountability.  The document release also sheds light on the generally still poor state of accountability post-Dallas, owing to the weaknesses of the Norms as revised by the Vatican and the failure to implement the aspirational language of the Charter. The Rudofski Archive argues for an increased commitment by the bishops to list their accused and make public the voluminous files that the dioceses and religious orders hold.

David Rudofski was sexually assaulted by the Rev. James Burnett at his First Confession in 1982 at St. Mary’s church in Mokena, Illinois.  His molestation was a crime, and because it was perpetrated during confession, it was one of the gravest offenses a priest can commit under the Catholic church’s own Code.  Yet the file demonstrates the way in which a priest such as Burnett, who is accused by three persons, two of whom were abused in the confessional, can be effectively shielded by the framework established by the U.S. bishops in Dallas in 2002.  What the bishops did not anticipate in Dallas was that the survivors of clergy abuse would take the bishops’ commitment to transparency and responsibility much more seriously than the bishops themselves.

Rudofski refused to settle with the Diocese of Joliet without the release of the files for all the accused priests whose cases were mishandled during the same time that Burnett was abusing Rudofski and Dan Shanahan (the survivor who first went public about Burnett's abuse).  Rudofski was supported by his attorney Terrence Johnson, and after a protracted and costly legal battle, Rudofski prevailed, by order of Will County Circuit Court Judge Michael J. Powers.

The results of Rudofski’s determination are available below, as well as on the websites of attorneys Jeff Anderson and Marc Pearlman.  Anderson had taken the deposition of Bishop Joseph Imesch of Joliet in 2005, another benchmark in accountability within the diocese.  Imesch’s mishandling of four cases, including the Gibbs and Lenczycki abuses documented below, had earned him the dubious honor of inclusion in the Dallas Morning News’ database of enabling bishops.  That article was on the newsstands when the bishops gathered in Dallas.  Below we provide the local news coverage that unfolded in Joliet at the same time that the story was breaking in Boston, as the highly local abuse crisis, which occurred parish-by-parish and home-by-home, became a national and global concern.

In 2013, when Rudofski settled and obtained the files he sought, Bishop Conlon of Joliet belatedly added six priests to the diocese’s list of priests credibly accused of sexually abusing children, including Rev. James Burnett.  (Compare Joliet's March 22, 2012 list and its March 12, 2013 list.) Hence Rudofski’s became an important reminder that we know the names of 3,500 accused priests, nuns, and brothers in the U.S. because of the survivors who have been willing to come forward.  But by the USCCB’s own admission, the bishops know the names of over 6,200 offending priests.  The reason for the gap between those two numbers was illustrated by Bishop Conlon’s late additions to his list of offenders – priests whose misdeeds were well documented in the diocese’s own files.  A portion of those files is now available, thanks to the work of David Rudofski and the people who supported his quest.

Note: Refresh this page frequently to see more individual documents that we have selected from the large files. In order to process the files for release, the Diocese of Joliet applied red labels and Bates numbers at the top of each page, and then certain documents were removed in negotiations between the diocese and Rudofski's attorney. Documents from the files of 15 priests are included in this release. In addition, documents and articles relating to Rev. James Janssen, of the Diocese of Davenport, were posted by Jeff Anderson and Marc Pearlman, because Janssen worked briefly in the Joliet diocese. The Janssen materials were obtained from, not from the Diocese of Joliet.

        • Janssen File [5.3M]

In addition to the 15 Joliet priest files, the Joliet diocese released miscellaneous documents from the files of Bishop Imesch, Sister Judith Davies, the diocesan investigators, and the diocesan staff responsible for counseling and pastoral assistance. These miscellaneous files were provided by attorney Terrence Johnson in two large PDFs. We separated these files into their four categories, using the red Bates labels at the top of each page. To show the original source of those groups of files, and to confirm to the user that the miscellaneous files are published here exactly as they were released, we provide the two original PDFs, as well as the four categories of PDFs.

        • Entire Released File: Part 1 [Caution: 65.7M]
        • Entire Released File: Part 2 [Caution: 40.7M]

We have processed all the files on this page to make them searchable, and optimized them to make them easier to download. We have used Adobe Acrobat tools to do this work, and have not altered the look, feel, or content of these files in any way.

Priest Files
| Rev. James Burnett | Rev. Phillip J. Dedera | Rev. Salvatore V. Formusa | Rev. James Frederick | Rev. Michael L. Gibbney | Rev. Lawrence M. Gibbs | Rev. Carroll Howlin | Rev. Frederick A. Lenczycki | Rev. Leonardo Mateo | Rev. Lawrence Mullins | Rev. Donald O’Connor | Rev. Donald P. Pock | Rev. Anthony J. Ross | Rev. John Slown | Rev. William D. Virtue |

Miscellaneous Files
| Bishop Joseph Imesch | Sister Judith Davies | Investigators | Victim Files on Counseling and Pastoral Assistance |


Rev. James Burnett

Priest File
        • Entire Released File [Caution: 39.6M]
        • Part 1 [9.4M] Red Bates 17–470
        • Part 2 [5.5M] Red Bates 485–668
        • Part 3 [3.8M] Red Bates 709–742
        • Part 4 [8.8M] Red Bates 743–1054
        • Part 5 [6.1M] Red Bates 1055–1215
        • Part 6 [7.6M] Red Bates 1218–1396

Individual Documents from the Burnett File
        • Memo by Davies describing nun's report of first allegation, in Mokena 1978-1983 (12/20/05)
        • Partial transcript of Rudofski's video affidavit about 1982 Mokena abuse, pages 1-7, 8-13, 17-39, 41, and 42-49 (10/4/06)
        • Email from Fr. Tapella, Vicar General, to Bishop Sartain, suggesting that Rudofski was not abused (2/6/07)
        • Report of allegation of abuse, in Bensenville 1971-1973 (no date)
        • Diocesan letter to State's Attorney, confirming three allegations (6/30/09)
        • Letter from papal nuncio about letter from first Mokena victim regarding new complaint by Rudofski with Sartain's reply (9/23/09)


Rev. Phillip J. Dedera

Priest File
        • Entire Released File [Caution: 56.7M]





Rev. Salvatore V. Formusa

Priest File
        • Entire Released File [Caution: 20.4M]






Rev. James Frederick

Priest File
        • Entire Released File [2.2M]



Rev. Michael L. Gibbney

Priest File
        • Entire Released File [Caution: 22.1M]

Individual Documents from the Gibbney File
        • Petition to the Vatican for laicization, including documentation of abuse allegations (6/9/10)





Rev. Lawrence M. Gibbs

Priest File
        • Entire Released File [13.3M]






Rev. Carroll Howlin

Priest File
        • Entire Released File [Caution: 35.3M]

Individual Documents from the Howlin File
       • Graviora Delicta Table summarizing assignments, allegations, settlements etc. (no date)




Rev. Frederick A. Lenczycki

Priest File
        • Entire Released File [Caution: 31M]

Individual Documents from the Lenczycki File
        • Report of court proceedings for plea agreement, including assignments and allegations (1/12/04)
        • Bishop Imesch writes to Lenczycki in prison (1/27/04)







Rev. Leonardo Mateo

Priest File
        • Entire Released File [Caution: 26.2M]



Rev. Lawrence Mullins

Priest File
        • Entire Released File [6.8M]





Rev. Donald O’Connor

Priest File
        • Entire Released File [9.8M]





Rev. Donald P. Pock

Priest File
        • Entire Released File [Caution: 12.2M]





Rev. Anthony J. Ross

Priest File
        • Entire Released File [Caution: 12.9M]




Rev. John Slown

Priest File
        • Entire Released File [Caution: 73.7M]





Rev. William D. Virtue

Priest File
        • Entire Released File [Caution: 39.6M]







Miscellaneous Files – Bishop Joseph Imesch

Diocesan File
        • Entire Released Imesch File [Caution: 59.9M]

Individual Documents from the Imesch File
       • Detailed tables of accused priests and allegations; source for Imesch's John Jay letter (1/04)
       • Letter to parishioners about Burnett, Imesch's deposition, and a planned list of credibly accused (3/06)
       • Email from priest to reporters critiquing their work and urging them to cover "the other side" (5/26/06)




Miscellaneous Files – Sister Judith Davies

Diocesan File
        • Entire Released Davies File [2.7M]


Miscellaneous Files – Investigators

Diocesan File
        • Entire Released Investigators File [7M]


Miscellaneous Files – Victim Files
on Counseling and Pastoral Assistance

Diocesan File
        • Entire Released Victim Files [Caution: 36.7M]





The Herald News Special Section
on Secrecy and the Abuse Crisis in the Joliet Diocese

Herald News
March 15, 2002 to August 11, 2002

March 15, 2002

- Sex Abuse Costs Have Church Reeling: Dioceses Have Sold Land, Buildings to Settle Cases, Associated Press (March 15, 2002)

March 20, 2002

- Protesters Picket Event: Group Accuses Retired Bishop of Misconduct, by Jill Jedlowski, Herald News (March 20, 2002)

March 26, 2002

- How to Deal with Claims of Sex Abuse: Joliet Diocese Policy under Review after Cases around U.S., by Ted Slowik, Herald News (March 26, 2002)

March 31, 2002

- Church Can't Solve Problem by Covering It up, by Nick Reiher, Herald News (March 31, 2002)

April 5, 2002

- Attorney: Open Files of Sex Case: Priest Accused: Local Lawyer Says Files Have Records That Could Stop Future Abuse, by Charles B. Pelkie, Herald News (April 5, 2002)

April 9, 2002

- Joliet Diocese Removes Priest from Duties: Abuse Conviction: Served As Chaplain at Downers Grove Hospital, Associated Press (April 9, 2002)

April 10, 2002

- Shadow over Funding Drive: Catholic Appeal: Diocese Officials Face Challenge on Past Abuse Cases, by Ted Slowik, Herald News (April 10, 2002)

April 11, 2002

- Joliet Diocese Investigates Misconduct Claims: Panel Also Looks into Old Allegations of Abuse, by Ted Slowik, Herald News (April 11, 2002)

April 12, 2002

- Lewis Brother Admits Past, Steps down: Ministry Director Cites Inappropriate Behavior with Minors, by Ted Slowik, Herald News (April 12, 2002)

April 13, 2002

- Out in Open Best Remedy for Church, by Ted Slowik, Herald News (April 13, 2002)
- Letter from the Bishop, in Herald News (April 13, 2002)
- Joliet Diocese Removes Priest: Abuse Allegation: Churches to Distribute Letter This Weekend, by Ted Slowik, Herald News (April 13, 2002)

April 14, 2002

- Bishop's Statement a Step toward Healing, in Herald News (April 14, 2002)
- Shaken Church Meets: Mass after Hard Week: Catholics Discuss Removals in Joliet Diocese, by Charla Brautigam, Herald News (April 14, 2002)

April 17, 2002

- More Allegations in Diocese: Another Removal: Kentucky Preacher, California Priest Have Ties to Joliet, by Ted Slowik, Herald News (April 17, 2002)

April 18, 2002

- When Is an Abuse Allegation Too Old? Associated Press (April 18, 2002)
- Priest Faces Suspension: Formerly of Joliet: Rev. Anthony J. Ross, Now in California, Accused of Sex Abuse, by Ted Slowik, Herald News (April 18, 2002)
- Bishop Tells Students about Sex Abuse Issue: Imasch Speaks to Elmhurst College Group, by Ron Pazola, Herald News (April 18, 2002)

April 19, 2002

- Rev. Ross Sorry for Outburst: Joliet Priest: Made Emotional Comment in Defense of Accused Brother, by Ted Slowik, Herald News (April 19, 2002)

April 20, 2002

- Clergy Must Report Abuse? Legal Mandate: Religious Leaders Group Supports It, Associated Press (April 20, 2002)

April 21, 2002

- Where to Get Help: Agencies You Can Contact If You Have Been a Victim of Sexual Abuse, by Ted Slowik, Herald News (April 21, 2002)
- Victims Urged to Speak up: Clergy Sex Abuse: Police Want to Know about It; Dioceses Have Different Procedures, by Ted Slowik, Herald News (April 21, 2002)

April 22, 2002

- Cardinals Arrive in Vatican City: Summoned by Pope: Religious Leaders Will Discuss Abuse Scandal, Associated Press (April 22, 2002)

April 23, 2002

- Looking for Clear Plan of Action: Vatican Meeting: Church to Address Sexual Abuse Scandal, in Chicago Sun-Times (April 23, 2002)
- Ex-Joliet Priest Placed on Leave: California Diocese: Ross Temporarily Suspended during Abuse Investigation, by Ted Slowik, Herald News (April 23, 2002)

April 24, 2002

- Vatican Meeting Addresses Homosexuality in Priesthood: Cardinals Also Discuss Celibacy Requirement, in Chicago Sun-Times (April 24, 2002)
- Pope John Paul II Calls Sex Abuse in the Clergy 'A Crime': Pontiff: Sexual Abuse 'An Appalling Sin in the Eyes of God', in Chicago Sun-Times (April 24, 2002)
- 5th Diocesan Priest Taken from Ministry: St. Louis Hospital Chaplain Removed, Returned to Joliet, by Ted Slowik, Herald News (April 24, 2002)

April 25, 2002

- Bishop Talks Forgiveness; Man Sees Lawyers: Diocese under Fire: Man Takes Sex-Abuse Claim to Prosecutors, by Ted Slowik, Herald News (April 25, 2002)

April 26, 2002

- Diocese Hands over Papers: Sex-Abuse Lawsuit: Prosecutors in 2 Counties Get Sealed Documents, by Joe Hosey, Herald News (April 26, 2002)

April 27, 2002

- Zero Tolerance Only Way to Go in Abuse Crisis, by Ted Slowik, Herald News (April 27, 2002)
- Prosecutors Will Investigate Allegations in Diocese Papers: Will and Dupage Departments Could Pursue Charges, by Ted Slowik, Herald News (April 27, 2002)

April 28, 2002

- Rumors Run Deep in Clergy Crisis, by Denise Crosby, Herald News (April 28, 2002)
- Clergy Abuse Problem Plaguing Many Denominations: Victims Can't Forget: Issue Not Confined to Catholic Church, by Kelley Quinn, Herald News (April 28, 2002)

May 1, 2002

- Sixth Diocese-Related Priest Suspended: St. Louis Chaplain: Worked in Joliet Diocese When Abuse Allegations Surfaced, by Ted Slowik, Herald News (May 1, 2002)
- Priest Case Hit a Brick Wall: Misconduct Alleged: Powerful Attorney Stepped in — No One Would File Police Report, by Ted Slowik, Herald News (May 1, 2002)

May 2, 2002

- Abuse Files to Be Unsealed: Judge's Ruling: Joliet Diocese Able to Give Records to State's Attorneys, by Ted Slowik, Herald News (May 2, 2002)

May 4, 2002

- Setting Boundaries Can Protect Kids: Appropriate Roles: Parents Must Be on Guard, by Cindy Wojdyla Cain, Herald News (May 4, 2002)
- A Concern for All Faiths: Sexual Abuse by Clergy Extends beyond Catholicism, by Stewart Warren, Herald News (May 4, 2002)

May 5, 2002

- Worst Kept Secrets: Sexual Abuse Cases: Plenty of Public Information on 15 Joliet Diocese Priests, by Ted Slowik, Herald News (May 5, 2002)

May 6, 2002

- Four More Diocese Priests Removed: Cannot Publicly Say Mass after Misconduct Allegations Surfaced, in Chicago Sun-Times (May 6, 2002)

May 8, 2002

- Rockford Diocese Discloses Sexual Misconduct by Priest: Removed Five Years Ago: Bishop Urges Victims to Report Cases, by Kelley Quinn, Herald News (May 8, 2002)
- Diocese Priest: 'I Am Innocent': Falsely Accused?: Placed on Leave Pending Investigation, in Chicago Sun-Times (May 8, 2002)

May 10, 2002

- State Senate: Toughen Abuse Law: Clergy Must Report: Senators Pass Bill; House Review Is Next in Springfield, by Colt Foutz, Clergy Must Report: Senators Pass Bill; House Review Is Next in Springfield (May 10, 2002)

May 12, 2002

- Joliet Diocese Stands out: Ousted Priests: Diocese Has One of Highest Percentages during Abuse Scandal, in Chicago Sun-Times (May 12, 2002)

May 14, 2002

- Tough Abuse Reporting Standards Necessary, editorial in the Herald News (May 14, 2002)

May 16, 2002

- Bishops' Meeting Seen As Crucial: Sexual Misconduct: Church Policy Expected to Be Drafted, by Ted Slowik, Herald News (May 16, 2002)

May 19, 2002

- Area Pastor Ousted: Coal City Priest: Bishop Removes Minister Accused of Sexual Misconduct, by Joe Hosey, Herald News (May 19, 2002)

May 21, 2002

- Removed Priest Served As Police, Fire Chaplain: Rev. O'Connor: Diocese Offers Counseling to Parishioners, in Herald News (May 21, 2002)

May 22, 2002

- Joliet Bishop Rejects Notion of Cover-Up: Imesch Says He Didn't Move Accused Priests around to Avoid Scandal, by Charles B. Pelkie, Herald News (May 22, 2002)

May 25, 2002

- Imesch Calls for Input on Abuse Cases: Bishop Wants to Hear Response before Dallas Meeting, in Herald News (May 25, 2002)

May 30, 2002

- Crucible Experience: At Trying Time, Former Providence Athlete Becomes Priest, by Colt Foutz, Herald News (May 30, 2002)

May 31, 2002

- Remember Sacrifice, Devotion of Our Clergy, editorial in the Herald News (May 31, 2002)

June 5, 2002

- Bishops Urge Zero-Tolerance: Exemptions Exist: Proposal Would Let Priests Who Abused in the Past Still Serve, by Ted Slowik, Herald News (June 5, 2002)

June 7, 2002

- Judge to Rule on Abuse Filesjudge to Rule on Abuse Files: Open to Public? Haase May Make Move June 19 in Joliet Diocese Case, by Stewart Warren, Herald News (June 7, 2002)

June 9, 2002

- Rev. Barrett Is Reinstated after Review: Diocesan Committee Finds No Support for Allegations, in Herald News (June 9, 2002)

June 11, 2002

- Imesch Urges Some Leniency: One-Time Offenders Could Remain Clergy, in Herald News (June 11, 2002)

June 12, 2002

- Bishops Step into Harsh Light: Sex Abuse Debate: Tense Meeting Expected to Produce Policy This Week, in Chicago Sun-Times (June 12, 2002)

June 13, 2002

- Laity Sends Message to Bishop: Before Leaving for Dallas, Imesch Collected Plenty of Opinions on Sex Abuse, by Ted Slowik, Herald News (June 13, 2002)

June 14, 2002

- Bishops Look at Their Own Sins: Dallas Conference: Their Management, As Well As Priests' Abuse, in Focus, in Chicago Sun-Times (June 14, 2002)

June 15, 2002

- Bishops" Plan Is a Start, by Ted Slowik, Herald News (June 15, 2002)
- Compromise on Abusive Priests: Bishops' Policy Bars Contact with Parishioners, but Not from Priesthood, Associated Press (June 15, 2002)

June 16, 2002

- Bishops Promising to Give Parishioners Bigger Role: Sexual Abuse Policy Creates Review Boards to Advise Church Leaders, Associated Press (June 16, 2002)
- Conference Decision May Affect Joliet Diocese Priests: 10 Accused Priests Facing Discipline Have Local Ties, by Ted Slowik, Herald News (June 16, 2002)
- Doubts about Dallas: Sex Abuse Policy: Skepticism in Joliet, Resistance in Rome, by Ted Slowik, Herald News (June 16, 2002)

June 19, 2002

- Imesch Defends Decisions: Joliet Bishop Says Dallas Reforms Already in Place Here, by Ted Slowik, Herald News (June 19, 2002)

June 20, 2002

- Couple Says Son Was Abused: Alleged Incident Happened in Romeoville in 1975, by Ted Slowik, Herald News (June 20, 2002)
- Judge: Unseal Abuse Files: Case against Priest: Records Must Be Opened in 1993 Gibbs Lawsuit, by Charles B. Pelkie, Herald News (June 20, 2002)

June 22, 2002

- Critics: Church Official Was Compromised: Diocese's Former Chancellor Allegedly Covered up Reports of Wayward Priests, by Ted Slowik, Herald News (June 22, 2002)
- Gibbs Prompted Red Flags: Documents Reveal Doubts about Priest Who Later Was Accused, by Charles B. Pelkie, Herald News (June 22, 2002)

June 29, 2002

- Diocese to Reveal Cases' Cost: Sex Abuse Claims: Joliet Plans to Join Trend of Disclosing Dollars Spent, by Ted Slowik, Herald News (June 29, 2002)

August 9, 2002

- Strife behind the Scandal: Seminary Tensions: As Abuse Cases Multiply, Author Laments Liberal Influence, by Ted Slowik, Herald News (August 9, 2002)

August 11, 2002

- Religious Orders: Keep Abusive Priests Working: Priests Not Defrocked Could Cause Glut of Religious Men with Limited Roles, Associated Press (August 11, 2002)


















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