More Priest Molestation Claims Made

By Marni Pyke
Daily Herald
March 4, 2006

While undergoing psychological treatment, a former Joliet diocese priest kept up a lewd correspondence with a boy he'd previously molested, a lawsuit claims.

The court action is among several filed this week against the besieged Joliet diocese, which has been under fire for withholding information about priest misconduct.

One case involves former priest Anthony Ross, who served at the Cathedral of St. Raymond in Joliet.

The lawsuit submitted Thursday claims Ross sexually abused a young altar boy at the cathedral during the early 1980s. The misconduct continued even after Ross was sent to California for treatment for pedophilia in 1982, attorneys said.

Court documents include several letters from Ross to the boy suggesting he be photographed nude. Ross also mailed trunks to the teenager and suggested he pose in them for a picture.

Ross previously was a priest in several DuPage parishes, including St. Isidore Catholic Church in Bloomingdale, Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Lombard, St. John the Baptist Church in Winfield, St. Peter the Apostle Church in Itasca and St. Charles Borromeo in Bensenville.

The lawsuit seeks damages against Ross, the diocese and Bishop Joseph Imesch.

Attorney Michael Bolos said his client, who is anonymous, told church authorities about the abuse and was promised in 1992 that Ross would be removed from active ministry.

Ross was working at a parish in California when allegations of misconduct broke out in 2002.

"He's pretty bitter," Bolos said of his client.

Additional lawsuits filed Thursday by Bolos accuse former St. Raymond priest Lawrence Mullins of molesting two boys.

In one, George Fehrenbacher, a former St. Raymond parishioner, states Mullins molested him between 1975 and 1978.

Fehrenbacher now lives in Arkansas.

A second case involving an anonymous victim alleges Mullins sexually abused him while he was an altar boy at St. Raymond between 1978 and 1980.

Mullins also was a priest at Immaculate Conception Church in Elmhurst and St. Margaret Mary in Naperville.

A previous lawsuit against him was dismissed in 2004.

The two lawsuits also accuse the diocese and Imesch of not protecting children from mistreatment.

Diocese spokesman Tom Kerber could not be reached by phone or e-mail.

Messages were left with Mullins and Ross, but neither returned calls.


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