Settlement Reached in Case of Alleged Abuse by Late Priest
By Edith Brady-Lunny
August 13, 2013
PEORIA — The family of a former student at Epiphany School in Normal will announce on Tuesday a $1.35 million settlement in an abuse case involving allegations against a deceased parish priest, and release the deposition of Archbishop John Myers, the former bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Peoria.
Andrew Ward, now 25 and living in Michigan, filed a lawsuit in 2008 accusing the late Monsignor Thomas Maloney of sexually abusing him at Epiphany Catholic Church between 1995 and 1996 when Ward was in the second grade.
The settlement was reached several weeks ago, but details will be publicly disclosed Tuesday in Newark, N.J., where Myers serves as archbishop, said Minnesota lawyer Jeff Anderson, who represents Ward.
Diocesan Chancellor Patricia Gibson was not aware of the press conference and had no comment on the settle-ment.
Anderson has pushed, since Myers was questioned in 2010, to have the contents of his question-and-answer session with lawyers released to the public. Myers was leader of the Central Illinois diocese when the allegations involving Maloney were disclosed. Maloney died in 2009.
The press conference will include remarks from Ward, his parents, Joanne and David Ward, and Robert Hoatson, a former Newark priest and founder of Road to Recovery, a support group for victims of abuse.
Joanne Ward told The Pantagraph her message will call for Myers to be held legally accountable for his role, saying “resignation is not good enough.” She added that Myers “has destroyed people’s lives and needs to go to jail.”
The settlement announcement comes a month before a scheduled Sept. 4 trial in Peoria County on Ward’s sexual abuse claims. In May, a judge ordered current Peoria Diocese Bishop Daniel Jenky and Gibson to appear for a deposition. The diocese resisted the depositions that were scheduled to cover a narrow field of questions.
For months, critics in New Jersey have called for Myers’ resignation over a case where a pedophile priest was allowed to have contact with children after the diocese signed an agreement with authorities that he would not work with children.