Priest Sued: Man Alleges Sexual Abuse by Priest Who Sued Previous Accusers

By Manya A. Brachear
Chicago Tribune
May 7, 2009,0,5073916.story

Man says he was fondled by Rev. Robert Stepek, who was removed from ministry in Chicago archdiocese

A Nebraska man filed a lawsuit Wednesday against a southwest suburban priest who has sued his accusers.

Flanked by family members and victims' advocates at a news conference outside the Cook County Courthouse, Tim Waters, 37, of Omaha said Rev. Robert Stepek fondled him in a car in the driveway of his family's South Side home 22 years ago.

Memories of the alleged abuse surfaced, Waters said, after he suffered a mental breakdown in November. He said he used his name in the lawsuit to encourage abuse victims to come forward.

Waters and his family first met Stepek in 1983 at St. Christina Catholic Parish, 11005 S. Homan Ave. Waters said Stepek befriended the family, took Waters to play golf in Florida and guided him to become a priest. Stepek later did the wedding ceremony for Waters and his wife. "He built a relationship of trust," Waters said. "You felt it was a safe scenario."

In May 2006, Cardinal Francis George asked Stepek to step down from St. Albert the Great Church in Burbank in response to allegations of sexual misconduct involving two brothers in the early 1980s, when he served at St. Symphorosa parish on the Southwest Side. He was removed from ministry five months later after the Chicago archdiocese found reason to believe the allegations were credible. He now works for Burbank police.

Shortly after his removal, Stepek filed a defamation suit against the brothers. The accusers countersued Stepek and the archdiocese.

On Wednesday, Stepek's lawyer Phillip Zisook said his client "categorically denies any allegations."



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