Suit Refiled against Ex-Priest
Allegations Involve Sex Abuse at Lincoln Parish

By Michael Miller
Lincoln Courier [Peoria IL]
January 25, 2007

Defrocked Lincoln monsignor Norman Goodman is facing more litigation involving sexual abuse allegations.

Four lawsuits against the Catholic Diocese of Peoria, which includes Lincoln, and at least three Roman Catholic priests were refiled Wednesday in Peoria County Circuit Court by alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse.

In one of the refiled cases, Daniel Williams, now 42, is alleging sexual abuse by Goodman from 1975 to 1979 at the parish of Holy Family Catholic Church in Lincoln.

The remainder of nine lawsuits filed in late 2005 but withdrawn in February 2006 reportedly will be refiled, in addition to several new ones, in upcoming weeks, a source said.

Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests, said the lawsuits were withdrawn last year for several reasons, including the initiation of mediation.

Peoria diocesan spokeswoman Elizabeth Smarjesse would not confirm whether mediation was offered or occurred, but she said professional counseling for the victims was offered.

At a news conference outside the Peoria County Courthouse, Blaine said "forensic examinations" of the victims were conducted by "independent sources" to determine how much counseling would be necessary for each victim. A dollar amount was then calculated, but the diocese refused to pay counseling costs up front, instead offering to pay for counseling as it proceeded, Blaine said.

"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.

The Peoria Diocese defrocked Goodman in May 2002.

Allegations against Goodman, a pastor in Lincoln for 35 years, came to the diocese's attention in 1997. In April 1999, the Peoria Diocese reached an undisclosed settlement with 13 former altar boys who accused the former Lincoln priest of sexual abuse over a 20-year period while he was a pastor at Holy Family.

Besides the revived case against Goodman, lawsuits were refiled Wednesday by Springfield attorney Fred Nessler on behalf of:

Jean Anderson, now 55, against the Rev. Edward Bush, alleging sexual assault 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.

Joseph Sims Jr., now 41, against the Rev. Toussaint J. Perron, alleging abuse between 1982 and 1984 while a member of St. John's Catholic Church in Galva. Perron, a member of the religious order Society of the Missionaries of Africa, has been removed from public ministry and served three years in prison for sexual assault.

Each lawsuit contains 11 counts seeking at least $50,000 on each count.

A fourth lawsuit was filed but details on it were not immediately available.

The diocese issued a statement that said attorneys for the alleged victims "will not accept our offer for counseling, but continue to make enormous monetary demands in order to settle these cases."

Diocesan attorney and chancellor Patricia Gibson said the Diocese of Peoria should not be compared to dioceses "who have given monetary settlements" to victims. The Diocese of Springfield last week settled with six victims for a total of $625,000.

"It is important to remember each case involves particular and unique circumstances which may explain why other dioceses choose to make monetary settlements," Gibson said.


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