Fr. Raymond F. Kownacki

Ordained: 1960
Status: Settled

Died: 08/19/2022
Diocese: Diocese of Belleville IL

Accused in a lawsuit filed in 3/1995 of abuse and rape of a teenage girl over several years, beginning in 1970. The girl was hired in 1971 as Kownacki’s housekeeper and moved into his rectory. Per the suit, when she told Kownacki in 1973 that she had sex with a boy she was dating, he held a knife to her throat, forced her at gunpoint to drive him around, then raped her. She later found she was pregnant; Kownacki made her drink something to induce abortion, then squeezed her uterus with his hand. She passed out and woke up in a pool of blood, and lost the fetus. The woman said that she and her parents reported the abuse in 1973 to Bishop Albert Zuroweste. Kownacki was kept in ministry; permanently removed in 11/1995. The suit was dismissed due to the statute of limitations. Two men filed suits in 2002 and 2003 claiming abuse in the 1970s. Jury award of $5M to 2002 plaintiff in 8/2008 trial. Decision appealed. Diocese paid $6.33M (with interest) in 8/2011. The 2003 suit settled in 10/2009 for $1.2M. Two men sued in 4/2009. Two suits settled in 3/2012. New suits in 10/2011 and 8/2012. Laicized 1/11/2013. On diocese’s list 12/19/2018. Per the list updated in 9/2022, Kownacki died 8/19/2022. Included in the 5/23/2023 IL Attorney General’s Report, which notes nine “reported survivors.”

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