Lawsuits Refiled in Peoria Priest Abuse Cases

Associated Press, carried in Belleville News-Democrat [Peoria IL]
January 24, 2007

Lawsuits were refiled Wednesday against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Peoria and several priests by alleged victims of sexual abuse by clergy.

The lawsuits originally filed in 2005 were withdrawn in February 2006 for a number of reasons, including the initiation of mediation, according to Barbara Blaine, president after the Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests.

Diocesan spokeswoman Elizabeth Smarjesse would not confirm whether mediation had been offered but said professional counseling was offered. In a Wednesday statement, the diocese said attorneys for the alleged victims will not accept its offer for counseling, but continue to make monetary demands to settle the cases.

Blaine claimed an independent source examined the alleged victims to determine the counseling each would need. A dollar amount was calculated, but the diocese wouldn't pay up front, instead offering to pay as counseling proceeded.

"They want to judge whether the victims will need counseling along the way," Blaine said. "We don't want them meddling with our therapists."

Smarjesse said that wouldn't happen.

"As long as professional counseling is going on, the diocese will pay for it," she said.

Lawsuits were refiled on behalf of Jean Anderson, 55, Daniel Williams, 41, and Joseph Sims Jr., 41.

Anderson claims she was sexually assaulted by the Rev. Edward Bush in 1964 or 1965 when she was a student at St. Thomas Catholic School in Peoria Heights. Bush was removed from public ministry in 2002.

Williams alleges sexual abuse by Monsignor Norman Goodman from 1975 to 1979 at the parish of Holy Family Catholic Church in Lincoln. Goodman has been removed from public ministry.

Sims alleges the Rev. Toussaint J. Perron abused him between 1982 and 1984 while a member of St. Johns Catholic Church in Galva. Perron, a member of the religious order Society of the Missionaries of Africa, pleaded guilty in 1993 to aggravated criminal sexual abuse in another case and served three years in prison. He was suspended from his duties upon his arrest in 1992.


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