3rd Man Accuses Priest of Sex Abuse

By James Janega
Chicago Tribune
March 9, 2004

Days after two men publicly accused Rev. John Calicott of sexually abusing them as minors, a third alleged victim filed a civil suit Monday against the South Side priest and the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago.

All three men say they took action because they are angry over Calicott's recent statements of denial and at the archdiocese's handling of the Calicott case.

Calicott was removed from ministry at Holy Angels Parish on the South Side in the mid-1990s over abuse allegations from two men. One of them, 40-year-old David Lasley, spoke publicly last week about the accusations, saying the priest had repeatedly assaulted him over two years in the 1970s.

The other man is the 42-year-old Chicago businessman who filed suit Monday as John Doe, according to his attorney, Larry Rogers Sr.

Fred Arceneaux, 40, also came forward last week to say that Calicott had abused him, but said he had not previously reported his allegations.

The lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court alleges that, beginning in January 1975, Calicott "sexually abused multiple children"--including the plaintiff--from St. Ailbe Catholic School but gives no details of the abuse. Calicott was an associate pastor at St. Ailbe Parish at the time.

Under rules in place in the 1990s, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin allowed Calicott to return to ministry at Holy Angels after he admitted to the abuses and after officials decided counseling had showed he posed no further threat to children.

But new Catholic sexual-abuse guidelines established in 2002 require priests be removed from ministry if they are found to have committed sexual abuse in the past. Calicott was removed again but has appealed to the Vatican to be reinstated.

Earlier this year, Calicott said he "denied doing what the boy said" he did. Parishioners at Holy Angels have rallied to Calicott's support, and it recently was revealed that Calicott had been staying at the Holy Angels rectory and had addressed pupils at the parish school in December.

Rogers said his client "was angered by the fact that Father Calicott was denying it, and he was angered by the fact that the archdiocese was allowing Father Calicott to have contact with children."

A spokesman for the archdiocese declined comment on the lawsuit.


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