Lawsuit Alleges Sexual Abuse in Peoria Diocese

January 16, 2007

Peoria, Ill. (AP) -- A lawsuit alleges the Roman Catholic Diocese of Peoria allowed a pedophile to serve as a priest decades ago. The suit filed by Aaron Slaughter also says the diocese has done little to help victims of clergy sexual abuse. Slaughter's attorney, Joseph Klest, says his client repressed memories of alleged abuse by the late Father William Harbert until 2005.

The diocese settled another case involving Harbert in 2005. That case involved a then-37-year-old man who said he'd been abused in the 80s by Harbert and two other former priests. At the time, the diocese said no abuse accusations surfaced until 1993, when Harbert and another priest were removed from public ministry. The diocese didn't immediately comment on the latest suit.


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