Deposition Probes Pervasive Abuse by Local Priests

July 22, 2009

CHICAGO (CBS) — Attorneys on Tuesday released a 180-page deposition taken from the top aide to Francis Cardinal George, as they settle six cases alleging sexual abuse by priests.


The deposition was taken from now-retired Auxiliary Bishop Raymond Goedert, who the second-ranked official in the Chicago Archdiocese under both Francis Cardinal George and the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, from 1987 until 2003.

While only four priests two dead and two still alive are named in the settlements announced Tuesday, more than a dozen priests accused of abuse are mentioned in the deposition.

At the core of the deposition is a sexual abuse scandal that hit the Chicago Archdiocese in the early 1990s, and forced Bernardin to call a special commission to investigate.

The Rev. Robert E. Mayer, the pastor at St. Odilo's parish in west suburban Berwyn, quietly left in July 1991 after allegations of sexual misconduct with a 20-year-old man, according to published reports. He had already been named in a lawsuit by a woman claiming he had made advances against her young son at a previous parish assignment, and was finally indicted in1992 on allegations that he molested a 14-year-old girl.

Lawsuits later charged that the Archdiocese had ignored warnings about Mayer and just moved him from parish to parish. In the deposition, attorneys probe Goedert on whether the clergy "looked after their own" by transferring Mayer and covering up other abuse cases.

The lawsuits settled Tuesday were brought against deceased priests Kenneth Ruge and Robert Becker, and the still-living Norbert Maday and Russell Romano. Maday has since been defrocked, according to the law firm.


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