Joliet Diocese to Be Served with Sex Abuse Lawsuit
Charges Stem from Alleged Action of Priest in the 1980s

By Jo Ann Hustis
Morris Daily Herald
March 4, 2006

JOLIET – A special process server was to serve the Joliet Diocese today in connection with a pedophile lawsuit filed Thursday in Will County Circuit Court.

Attorney Michael Bolos said both Bishop Joseph Imesch and the diocese will be served with separate copies of the complaint.

He said the bishop and diocese have 30 days to answer the complaint. A hearing on the complaint will be conducted in about six weeks, Bolos said.

Bolos identified the plaintiff in the complaint as Adam Doe, a fictitious name.

He said the lawsuit claims — in response to reports of inappropriate sexual conduct between The Rev. Anthony J. Ross and one or more boys — that Ross was transferred from the Cathedral of St. Raymond in Joliet to a parish in Itasca, and then to a facility in California, which provided psychological therapy for pedophile priests.

The complaint says the predatory culture of St. Raymond is well documented.

"In an effort to protect himself from other priests, my client sought the assistance of Father Ross. Unfortun-ately, while fleeing the clutches of one predator, he unknowingly leaped into the hands of another," Bolos said in part in the complaint.

During Doe's freshman year in high school, Imesch transferred Ross to a parish in Itasca, allegedly for inappropriate sexual conduct.

Ross then invited Doe and others for a weekend at the rectory in Itasca, and supplied alcoholic beverages to the point where Doe became intoxicated and went to sleep, the complaint notes.

Doe then awoke to find Ross touching his genitals. Later the same weekend, Doe awoke to find Ross performing oral sex on him, the complaint adds.

After the diocese transferred Ross to the treatment center in California, Ross continued to prey on Doe, the complaint notes.

"Father Ross wrote lewd letters and sent inappropriate gifts," the complaint states.

Ross wrote to Doe on Jan. 16, 1983, saying he loved and cared about Doe very much, the complaint continues.

The complaint said Ross told the youth to get someone to take pictures of him, both clothed and unclothed.

"So I won't forget what you look like," the complaint says Ross wrote in the letter.

Ross again wrote Doe from the California facility on Feb. 7, 1983, and included what Ross said was a Valentine's Day package with two posing trunks he obtained from a well-known gym in San Francisco.

Bolos said the lawsuit is the first naming Ross the defendant.

The Third District Appellate Court in Ottawa ruled in January of this year that two other plaintiffs were within their statutory right to sue the diocese for sexual abuse by Father Michael Gibbney and Father Lawrence Mullins, Bolos noted.

"The Appellate Court says these plaintiffs have the right to sue. The Appellate Court determined these two filed their lawsuit in a timely manner," he said.

Bolos said the special process server also is attempting to find Ross's current address to serve the complaint.


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