Ill. Diocese to Appeal Priest-abuse Judgment


September 26, 2008

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - The bishop of Belleville says the diocese will appeal a jury award of $5 million to a former altar boy who was sexually abused by a priest.

Bishop Edward Braxton made the announcement in a letter that he's asked priests to read during Mass this weekend in the diocese's southern Illinois parishes.

Braxton says the decision was difficult. But he believes that the payout would drain the diocese's resources and limit its outreach.

The lawsuit was brought in 2002 by James Wisniewski (wihs-NOO'-skee) of Champaign. He says he was sexually abused by a Belleville priest -- the Rev. Raymond Kownacki -- for five years beginning when he was 13.

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