IL Victim Prods Peoria Diocese
By Jeff Jones
August 13, 2013
I am proud and grateful to be here today. Like Andrew Ward, I have played a small role in helping to uncover the corruption and complicity of the Catholic hierarchy in the Peoria Diocese. I know, from painful first-hand experience, that Peoria Catholic officials fight long and hard against victims. So I am proud of Andrew and his parents. They have achieved something here that very few victims have achieved – some long over-due truth and justice that will help protect others by deterring future cover ups.
I’m here because Andrew has settled his lawsuit. It was a long, hard battle. It involved one predator priest, one corrupt bishop and one troubled diocese. It settled for $1.35 million.
But even more important, it means two significant documents are being publicly disclosed. The first is a 200 page deposition of Peoria’s former bishop. The second is the personnel file – or part of the personnel file – of a Peoria predator priest.
This is crucial. When victims sue, it’s usually because they desperately want Catholics and citizens to know the truth about this horror. Because Andrew is brave and smart and determined, more of the truth is being revealed today. Parents and parishioners in Peoria should join me in thanking the Ward family.
There are two wrongdoers here. One of them, Msgr. Thomas W. Maloney, is beyond the reach of the law. He died four years ago. The other wrongdoer, Archbishop John Myers, may not be beyond the reach of the law. He heads the Newark archdiocese.
And in Newark, just like in Peoria, Myers puts himself and his reputation and his comfort above the needs of the vulnerable and the wounded. My hope is, however, that
So I hope that law enforcement officials – here and in New Jersey – study these documents. If there is any way to file criminal charges against Myers or other Catholic officials, I hope that happens. I’m no lawyer. I don’t claim to know that Myers committed crimes. But I know he covered up for and protected and helped evil men who hurt kids. So if there is any way possible that he can be held responsible, I hope police and prosecutors will do that.
I have three other hopes.
First, I hope Peoria citizens and Catholics will read these documents. Don’ t buy the spin that bishops in Peoria and Newark will put out there. Read the records yourself. And ask yourself: “Would I ever act so irresponsibly in a case that involves the safety of kids?” I’m pretty sure you’ll say NO.
Second, I hope every person – whether you are a Catholic employee or parishioner or ex-Catholic employee or ex-Catholic parishioner – who knows or suspects ANYTHING about possible crimes or misdeeds by priests, nuns, bishops, seminarians or brothers in Peoria will stop being silent. I hope each person with knowledge or suspicions realizes there are just two choices – being part of the problem or being part of the solution. Being silent means you’re part of the problem. Being part of the solution means speaking up. Come on, folks, stop being timid and fearful and trapped. Start speaking up, helping others and protecting kids.
Third, I hope that no one is complacent. This is the time to push for more truth to be exposed. This is not the time to sit passively back and let others do the hard work of safeguarding children and exposing wrongdoers.
Fourth, I hope that Peoria’s bishop will post on his diocesan website the photos, whereabouts and other detailed information about child molesting clerics. About 30 US bishops do this. It’s a simple, inexpensive way to protect kids. It should have happened years ago. It should happen now.
Until it does, kids are still at risk and predators are still being helped by this diocese and its staff.
Here’s more information about Maloney - He worked at St. Mary's Cathedral parish in Peoria; St. Patrick's parish in Ottawa, St. Monica's parish in East Peoria, in Epiphany parish in Normal (in 1973), St. Joseph's parish in Chenoa (1976 -1995) , and St. Mary's parish in Lexington (1976 -1995). In the early 1980s, he was also chaplain at Central Catholic High School in Bloomington.
According to the Peoria Diocesan newspaper, in 1995, Maloney returned to Epiphany Parish in Normal and oversaw two major building programs, including building one of the most spacious grade school gyms in the diocese.
Maloney was ordained in 1967, retired in 2002 (allegedly for health reasons), and reportedly spent time then on rural property along the Mackinaw River and at a retirement home in St. Petersburg, Fla. He passed away in 2009.