Group: Ill. Diocese Should Let Jury Award Stand


August 28, 2008

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - The Diocese of Belleville says it could decide next week whether it will appeal a jury's awarding of $5 million to a man who claims he was repeatedly sexually abused by a priest decades ago.

A St. Clair County jury returned the verdict yesterday in favor of James Wisniewski (wihs-NOO'-skee) in his lawsuit against the diocese.

Wisniewski says the Reverend Raymond Kownacki molested him dozens of times in the 1970s when he was an altar boy, threatening to kill Wisniewski's parents if the boy ever told.

Jurors found that the diocese concealed evidence of Kownacki's suspected sexual misconduct.

Kownacki isn't charged criminally and did not answer his door today for an Associated Press reporter seeking comment.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests says the diocese should resist the temptation to challenge the trial's outcome.


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