Man Says He Was Abused by Priest, Reached Settlement

By Monifa Thomas
Chicago Sun-Times [Chicago IL]
November 19, 2006,CST-NWS-priest19.article

Earlier this year, the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago published a list of current and former priests accused of sexually abusing minors.

The archdiocese released the list to be more transparent while it faced scrutiny over its handling of abuse allegations against the Rev. Daniel McCormack.

But questions about the thoroughness of that list arose Saturday when a Bellwood man spoke publicly for the first time about his alleged molestation in the early 1970s by a priest at St. Procopius Church on the city's West Side.

Because he belongs to a separate order within the Catholic Church, the priest who Michael Calvin says molested him repeatedly between the ages of 13 and 17, would not have been included on the list of accused clergy.

"We continue to investigate any cases that come forward," said archdiocese spokeswoman Susan Burritt. But "priests that are not archdiocese priests are under the auspices of their religious communities," she said, adding that individual orders are responsible for naming their own accused clergymen.

The priest, whom the Sun-Times is not naming because he has not been criminally charged, was ordained by the Order of St. Benedict, which operated St. Procopius before it became an archdiocesan parish.

Critics blasted the archdiocese for "splitting hairs."

Cardinal Francis George "should reveal names of all predators," said Barbara Blaine, founder of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests. "The buck stops at his door."

'Six-figure' settlement

Calvin reached a "six-figure" settlement with the Order of St. Benedict and the Catholic Bishop of Chicago in September, resolving a complaint filed in 2004, Calvin's attorney Phillip Aaron said. The archdiocese would not discuss the settlement, referring all questions to the Benedictine order.

'As if he was a god'

The leader of the St. Procopius Abbey said he could not comment on the allegations Saturday. "I haven't had a chance to talk to anybody [about it]," said Abbott Dismas Kalcic.

The priest, who Burritt said is no longer involved in ministry, also couldn't be reached.

Calvin, now 47, said the priest regularly performed oral sex on him from 1971 to 1974 while Calvin was in a youth program at the church. Because he idolized the priest "as if he was a god," Calvin said he never reported the man.

Since then, Calvin said he's been "in and out of the penitentiary," and "can't keep a steady relationship," attributing that to the abuse. "I feel like he betrayed me. He robbed me of my innocence."



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