Question for the Diocese

August 11, 2008

Was the Belleville Catholic Diocese protecting itself when officials kept records of alleged priest sexual misconduct from parishioners and even its own review board?

That's the question St. Clair County Circuit Judge Lloyd Cueto wants a jury to decide in a lawsuit against the Rev. Raymond Kownacki and the diocese. Specifically, does the state's Fraudulent Concealment Statute apply?

Their answer will determine not only whether the case can go forward, but also how the diocese fares in the court of public opinion.

In his order, Cueto sums up what's at stake: "If true, the Diocese of Belleville was a willing participant in the culture of shielding a predator priest and ignoring victims' complaints. This resulted in more innocent children being victimized and experiencing the pain, anger and confusion of being sexually molested by a person of trust who was thought to represent Christ."

Abuse is horrible, but enabling a predator would be even worse.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.