New Suit Alleges More Abuse by Accused Priest

By Manya Brachear
Chicago Breaking News
May 6, 2009

A 37-year-old Nebraska man filed a lawsuit today against a Chicago priest, alleging the priest sexually abused him when he was a teenager.

Tim Waters of Omaha, Neb., said at an afternoon news conference that Rev. Robert Stepek fondled him in the driveway of his family's South Side home in 1987 when he was 16.

Waters and his family were parishioners at St. Christina Parish, 11005 S. Homan Ave., and knew Stepek when he served as associate pastor between 1983 and 1991. Stepek later did the wedding ceremony for Waters and his wife.

Memories of the alleged abuse surfaced, Waters said, after he suffered a mental breakdown in November. He said he chose to use his name in the lawsuit, rather than file it anonymously, to encourage victims of abuse to come forward.

"I'm saving someone else," he said. "I'm not ashamed."

Stepek last served at St. Albert the Great Church in Burbank and was removed from the ministry in November 2006 after the Chicago Archdiocese found evidence of sexual misconduct against him involving two brothers in the early 1980s, when he served at St. Symphorosa parish on the Southwest Side.

Stepek later filed a $4 million defamation suit against the two accusers, arguing the allegations were false and the accusations were the result of slights he committed against them.

The accusers later sued Stepek and the archdiocese.


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