Ex-Holy Angels Priest Sued for Alleged Abuse

By Cathleen Falsani
Chicago Sun-Times
March 9, 2004

A 42-year-old man filed a lawsuit Monday against the Rev. John Calicott, a suspended Roman Catholic priest, and the Archdiocese of Chicago, alleging that the priest sexually abused him when he was a student at St. Ailbe parish in the 1970s.

The man, who filed the lawsuit under the name "John Doe," said Calicott, now 56, sexually abused him on multiple occasions in 1975 and 1976, according to the suit. He's seeking in excess of $50,000 in damages for emotional distress.

Doe is one of two men who complained in 1994 to archdiocesan officials about the alleged abuse, prompting the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin to remove Calicott from ministry at Holy Angels parish, where he had been pastor since 1992. Calicott was an assistant priest at St. Ailbe at the time of the alleged abuse.

In 1995, after Calicott was sent for treatment to the St. Luke Institute in Maryland, a center that specializes in treating clergy sex abusers, and at the behest of Holy Angels parishioners who begged for his return, Bernardin reinstated Calicott at Holy Angels, saying he did not believe the priest was a threat to children.

Calicott served again as pastor of Holy Angels until June 2002, when Cardinal Francis George once again removed the priest from ministry because new church law governing the handling of cases of clergy sex abuse went into effect, barring any priest with a past allegation of abuse against him from any public ministry.

In January, a Sun-Times report revealed that despite having been removed from ministry, Calicott had been spending much of his time at Holy Angels, even lecturing school children about sexuality. George has since forbidden Calicott from going to the parish or having any contact with children. In the wake of this latest rebuke, Calicott has denied publicly on numerous occasions having committed any sexual misconduct with minors in the past.

It was a combination of revelations of his lecturing pupils in a Holy Angels classroom and his public denials of wrongdoing that led Doe to file a lawsuit against Calicott and the archdiocese, said his attorney, Larry Rogers.

"He's very upset that the archdiocese would allow [Calicott] to have contact with children," Rogers said.

Calicott did not return a request for comment Monday left at the Mundelein Seminary retreat where he now lives.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.