Mother of Abuse Victim Calls for George's Resignation

By Andrew Herrmann
Southtown Star
August 22, 2008,082208abuse.article

Reading her Chicago Sun-Times last week, Diane Houston lingered over a prison photo of the Rev. Norbert Maday, his mug shot showing the convicted sex abuser with a black eye and a swollen lip.

Though the Homewood woman is the mother of one of the dozens of boys believed to have been raped by Maday, the picture of the jailed Chicago priest didn't bring her any solace.

Her reaction: "He was beaten up but not beaten up enough for me."


Mom wants cardinal to quit

On Thursday, Houston, whose son John committed suicide years after he was abused by Maday, called on Cardinal Francis George to resign.

Houston cited documents showing how George and other Chicago archdiocesan officials tried to ease Maday's stay in prison, including advising him on how he could be released early from his 20-year sentence.

Details of the Catholic Church's attempts to assist Maday were released last week as part of the archdiocese's $12.7 million settlement with victims of sexual abuse by priests. Maday now is in a secured Wisconsin medical facility awaiting a trial that could keep him committed indefinitely as a "sexually violent person."

George now says he made a mistake in trying to help Maday and supports his continued incarceration.

But he acknowledged that he wrote the priest a number of times, including in 2000 when he told Maday that the six years Maday had served should be "enough to satisfy the state and any sense of justice."

At a news conference Thursday, Houston said her son was about 10 in the late 1960s when he was abused by Maday, then at St. Bede the Venerable Church. After her son began calling Maday "Father Gayday" at school, Maday came to the Houston family's South Side home and demanded an apology. Houston said she made her son say he was sorry.

John Houston, an altar boy when he was assaulted, kept the rape to himself for years. But as a Marine serving in the Gulf War in the early 1990s, the memories of the abuse came flooding back, his mother said. He began drinking heavily and taking drugs and was discharged.

He would testify at Maday's 1994 Wisconsin trial. In October 2002, at age 33, John Houston committed suicide.

"My son didn't just take his life. Father Maday and (Cardinal) George had a part in it," said Houston, who also called on the archdiocese to release Maday's church file, accusing the archdiocese of continuing to protect him.

She was not part of the recently announced settlement, she said, adding that the archdiocese paid her son $18,000 after Maday's trial.


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