Judge: Lawsuit against Priest Can Proceed

Chicago Tribune

August 4, 2008,0,1164969.story

BELLEVILLE, Ill. - A St. Clair County judge says a sexual-abuse lawsuit a former altar boy filed against a priest and the Belleville Diocese can proceed if a jury finds the diocese engaged in a cover-up.

Circuit Judge Lloyd Cueto (KWEE'-toh) has set an August 18th trial date in the case James Wisniewski (wihz-NEW'-skee) has filed against the Reverend Raymond Kownacki.

Wisniewski claims 73-year-old Kownacki sexually abused him from 1973 to 1978 when Wisniewski was an altar boy at St. Theresa's church and school in Salem in southern Illinois.

Kownacki was removed from ministry in 1987.

The defendants had sought to have the 2002 lawsuit thrown out, insisting the statute of limitations had lapsed.

Kownacki has not been charged criminally.

Messages left Monday by The Associated Press with the diocese were not immediately returned.


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