Okla. Priest, Bishop Face Sex Abuse Lawsuit Here
Boy Allegedly Molested on '01 Visit to Evanston

By Rummana Hussain
Chicago Sun-Times [Chicago IL]
March 16, 2007,CST-NWS-priest16.article

The parents of a 14-year-old Oklahoma boy filed a civil lawsuit here Thursday, accusing a Catholic priest of molesting their son at an Evanston hotel six years ago.

The Rev. Kenneth Lewis, who graduated from St. Mary of the Lake Mundelein Seminary, had been under fire for his alleged misconduct with other minors and had been ordered to undergo treatment by Tulsa Diocese Bishop Edward Slattery well before the 2001 incident, the lawsuit maintains.

Resigned in '02

But Slattery, also named as a defendant, still allowed Lewis to travel with the boy and his parents, who had flown to the Midwest to look at potential colleges for their daughter, according to Peter Isely, the Midwest director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

The victim, then 9, allegedly was assaulted while he was with Lewis at a north suburban hotel.

Lewis resigned as pastor of a Tulsa church in 2002 after diocese officials there renewed investigations into claims that he improperly touched young boys in 1993 and 1994 at another area facility.

Tulsa authorities also had looked into the allegations but said they could not file any charges because of the five-year statute of limitations on sexual abuse crimes.

As many as six victims have come forward with complaints against Lewis, Isely said.

Slattery, a former Chicago priest, and other Tulsa Diocese representatives could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Never assigned here

Lewis attended the Mundelein seminary between 1987 and 1991, said Chicago Archdiocese spokesman Susan Burritt, who stressed that the out-of-town priest was never assigned in Chicago.

Burritt said it's possible Lewis could have crossed paths with the Rev. Daniel McCormack, who was at the school between 1990 and 1994, but she did not know of any long-standing relationship between the two men.

McCormack, formerly of St. Agatha, was charged last year with sexually abusing three boys at his parish.

Contributing: AP



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