Tucson Bishop Mentioned in Chicago Priest Sex Abuse Documents

January 23, 2014

[with video]

Russell Romano

Robert Becker

TUCSON- Newly released documents allege the Bishop of Tucson may be connected to a massive cover up related to priest sex abuse cases in Chicago.

Bishop Gerald Kicanas was born in Chicago and lived there until he became Bishop of Tucson in 2003. For more than 25 years he served as Rector, Principal, and Dean of Formation at the former Quigley Seminary South and Rector of Mundelein Seminary at the University of St. Mary of the Lake.

On Tuesday in Chicago, lawyers from Jeff Anderson & Associates released 6,000 pages of investigative reports that they say prove how the Archdiocese of Chicago for years failed to protect children from abusive priests. The lawyers represent the victims who say they were abused by a total of 30 Chicago priests.

Bishop Kicanas' name is mentioned in the reports of two of those priests, both who served at the Quigley Seminary South.

In the first case, the lawyers say Bishop Kicanas learned of the abuse when the dean of the seminary contacted him, after he left Quigley. "What Father Klein reported to him was that Father Romano was taking boys to his rectory room, supplying them with alcohol, kissing them, hugging them," says Patrick Wall of Jeff Anderson & Associates.

The documents say Bishop Kicanas offered a two part solution: 1) "Express concern for Father Romano" and 2) "Hugs, kisses, liquor and porn movies must stop."

That priest eventually faced consequences, but Wall says Bishop Kicanas should have filed a report with Police or CPS as soon as he learned about the priest's actions.

In the case of the other priest, Wall says the documents indicate Bishop Kicanas was contacted about where to place that priest, after he was released from sex abuse treatment. A Cardinal writes, "Will talk with Father Gerald Kicanas about teaching a course part time." At that time Father Kicanas was at the Mundelein Seminary at the University of St. Mary of the Lake.

Bishop Kicanas says while he may have known at the time the priest was coming out of treatment, he wouldn't have known for what. He also says that priest never ended up teaching at his seminary. "There were three or four documents that contain my name, but they in no way implicate me in the actions that they did or my knowledge in anything they did," Bishop Kicanas says.

He says the release of the papers signifies an important lesson for the Church. "Victims have been hurt, they need to heal and the Church has to be there for them and help them through their struggle," Bishop Kicanas says.

To view the newly released files of the accused priests, click here.

To check out the files that specifically mention Bishop Kicanas, go to "Priest Files", then click the timeline summary for the names of Romano, Russell L. and Becker, Robert C.

Bishop Kicanas also released this statement to News 4 Tucson:

"Any priest's abuse of a child is abhorrent. I have met with victims in Tucson and felt the terrible pain of their experiences. In this diocese, over the last 12 years, I have made every effort to be transparent in addressing these issues as I have always done wherever I have served.

The recently released files relating to the 30 Chicago priests named as committing acts against children do not implicate me in any way. I have not done anything in any of the cases named that justify the accusation made by the victim's representative in Chicago. I simply was not involved in these situations.

I have cooperated in giving a deposition in the case of Daniel McCormack, who was named but whose file was not made public at this time. That deposition is currently sealed by the courts, but contains my response to the events that happened when I was the rector of the seminary where McCormack studied prior to ordination."


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