Joliet Diocese Investigating Abuse Claim

By Bob Okon
Herald News
June 8, 2010,4_1_JO08_PRIESTS_S1-100608.article

JOLIET -- The diocese continues to investigate sexual allegations made against two priests by a former student who attended both Providence Catholic School and Joliet Catholic High School.

The incidents would have occurred more than 30 years ago, when the alleged victim was a student.

No lawsuit or criminal charges have been filed. The Herald-News has chosen not to publish the priests' names because no legal actions have been taken against them. The alleged victim has not been identified.

The incident became public when the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests held a news conference May 28 urging the Diocese of Joliet to take a more aggressive and public stance in the investigation.

The diocese later that day announced that both priests, who were pastors in Joliet Diocese parishes outside the Joliet area, had been removed from their ministries earlier in the week. During Masses the following Saturday and Sunday, parishioners in the two affected parishes were told of their pastors' removal and reasons why, diocese spokesman Doug Delaney said Monday.

Bishop J. Peter Sartain visited one parish personally both days to speak to the parishioners, Delaney said. The Carmelite provincial spoke to parishioners at the other parish because the pastor there served under the direction of the Carmelite province, Delaney said.

"Both priests have been removed and are not able to be priests anymore," Delaney said. However, the investigation will determine their future, he said.

"One of the things we're very careful about is making this information public until we finish our investigation," Delaney said.

SNAP has urged the diocese to publicize the priests' names and turn the investigation over to police.

"They could be taking proactive steps that might result in the prosecution of these people," said Barbara Blaine, president of SNAP.

According to SNAP, the alleged victim was a student at Providence when a priest on staff there abused him over several years in hotels, at a rectory, and on trips out of state.

Providence Catholic High School has sent a letter to parents discussing the situation, Delaney said.

The allegation involving the priest from Joliet Catholic High School, now Joliet Catholic Academy, involved one incident, according to SNAP.


Any original material on these pages is copyright 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.