New Sex Abuse Lawsuit Names Working Priest
Lawsuit: Priest Still Working More Than 1 Year after Church Learned of Allegations

April 27, 2006

WHEATON, Ill. -- A 43-year-old Arizona man has filed a child sexual abuse lawsuit claiming he was molested at age 11 or 12 by two Archdiocese of Joliet priests, one of whom still serves at a parish in Naperville, according to a release from the plaintiff's attorney.

The suit also charges that Joliet Diocese officials have dragged their feet in responding to the allegations.

Tim Greco filed suit in DuPage County Circuit Court on Thursday charging that from 1975 to 1976, while serving as an altar boy at St. Pius X parish in Lombard, he was sexually abused by two priests, the Rev. Phillip J. Dedera and the Rev. Richard L. Bennett, according to attorney Marc Pearlman of Chicago.

The suit claims Greco, now married with two children, was repeatedly molested by Dedera, and then abused once by Bennett after Bennett became aware that Dedera was molesting the boy.

Bennett remains a pastor in Naperville and heads a deanery [a region] of the diocese, Pearlman said in the release, while Dedera was suspended from ministry in 2002 after church officials found an allegation against him credible. In a deposition last year, Joliet Bishop Joseph Imesch confirmed that Dedera had been credibly accused of child sexual abuse, according to Pearlman.

The suit claims letters show that Greco's abuse reports were given to diocesan lawyer James Byrne in August 2004, and that Greco also approached Imesch with the charges earlier that year. For almost a year and a half, the suit claims, neither Greco, nor his attorneys, have heard from the Diocese or its Review Board about the allegations, while Bennett remains in the ministry, the suit claims.

Dedera was ordained in 1972 and worked at several parishes, including St. Andrew the Apostle in Romeoville from 1973-75, St. Pius X from 1976-78, Visitation parish in Elmhurst in 1979, St. Walter in Roselle from 1980-84, St. Mary in Downers Grove from 1984-85, St. Scholastica in Woodridge from 1985-86, St. Mary in Paxton from 1987-89, St. Patrick in Momence from 1990-95 and St. Patrick in Naperville from 1997-98, according to the release. His last two assignments, both in Naperville, were at Edward Hospital and St. Patrick's Residence from 1999-2002.

Bennett was also ordained in 1972 and has worked at St. Dennis in Lockport from 1973-75, St. Pius X in Lombard from 1977-79, St. Raphael in Naperville from 1980-87 and Sacred Heart Church in Joliet from 1988-98, according to the release. He served at Catholic Community Wheatland Church in Naperville in 1999 and at Holy Spirit Catholic Community Church in Naperville from 2001 until the present.


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