Sexual Misconduct under Church Microscope
Church Removed Monitored Priest

February 5, 2006

(CBS) SOUTH HOLLAND, Ill. The Archdiocese of Chicago has asked its staff to review any current cases of sexual misconduct allegations in light of a recent sex abuse scandal, CBS 2's Chelsea Irving reports.

One case was found in which a priest was undergoing monitoring. He has been removed from his south suburban church.

Meanwhile, Catholics at an area church are attending mass this weekend for the first time since abuse allegations surfaced involving their priest.

At Holy Ghost Catholic Church, 700 E. 170th St., in South Holland, parishioners learned their pastor was accused of sexually abusing an eight-year-old girl in the late 1960s.

"I'm a Catholic and I'm ashamed about what's going on," said parishioner Frances Augustyniak. "I'll tell you the truth. I'm a Catholic and this is terrible."

However, some people stand behind their priest.

"I believe Father Bennett will be vindicated," said parishioner Adam Hunter. "I don't believe the charges. I think they're trumped up."

Holy Ghost's Rev. Joseph Bennett was put on administrative leave because of accusations he sexually abused the eight-year-old girl. That abuse was believed to have happened at St. John De LaSalle Church at 102nd Street and King Drive in Chicago.

Another priest, Rev. Daniel McCormack, is facing criminal charges accusing him of fondling young boys at his church.

Allegations against Bennett first surfaced two years ago, but it wasn't until this past week that Bennett was suspended from active ministry.

Most parishioners learned about the allegations when a letter from the Archdiocese was read during 5 p.m. mass Saturday.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests said the allegations against Bennett are another example of failure by the Archdiocese to move fast enough to stop abusive priests.

"This is a pattern," said SNAP member Ken Kaczmarz. "It's not an isolated case. The cardinal and his staff do not take these allegations seriously. They put all sorts of bureaucracy and paperwork in front of victims when they come forward."


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