New Lawsuits Filed against Peoria Catholic Diocese

WEEK News 25, carried on WMBD Radio
November 30, 2005

There are new allegations of sexual abuse in the Peoria Catholic Diocese. All of the alleged abuse happened between 1958 and 1984.

Nine new lawsuits were filed in Peoria County against the Catholic Diocese.

The accused are: Walter Breuning, Edward Bush, Louis Condon, Norman Goodman, Tousaint Perron and Sister Mary Jane.

Half of the priests named in the lawsuits have been blamed of sexual abuse in the past.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP announced the new lawsuits in front of the Diocese Chancery this afternoon.

More people are speaking out about the alleged abuse they endured by members of the clergy.

Jeff Jones filed one of the lawsuits and said, “My goal is to see that no other child is abused and their life ruined like my life was ruined. Starting at age 11, I’ve been living with this for 41 year and no one should have to live with this.”

In the past, Bishop Daniel Jenky has written letters of apology to victims. He has also publicly apologized for any abuse anyone my have experienced associated with the Peoria Diocese.

But members of SNAP say Jenky’s actions are just for show.

Spokeswoman Barbara Blaine said, “Actions speak louder than words. Bishop Jenky has a beautiful policy, the problem is the victims don’t feel the kind of respect and compassion that is promised in his policies.”

Jeff’s brother, Joe, also filed a lawsuit and said, “I would just hope that the Bishop would take a Christian approach to this and do the right thing.”

In a written response from the Peoria Diocese, spokesperson Elizabeth Smarjesse writes the priests named in the lawsuits have been removed from all active ministries.

And that prior to 2002, the Diocese was not aware of any allegations involving the misconduct of the named priests.

The plaintiffs in the nine lawsuits are asking for a sum in excess of $50,000.


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