Joliet Priest Facing Sex Abuse Allegations Moves into Hotel near Catholic Charities Office
By Brad Edwards
September 27, 2018
Father James Nowak has faced a multitude of accusations of child sex abuse. In fact, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet paid out millions of dollars to eight men who claimed Nowak abused them.
When CBS 2 Investigator Brad Edwards started looking into why Nowak was being housed next to a school, he moved, and moved again.
You won’t believe where Edwards found him now; at an Extended Stay America motel next to the Joliet Catholic Charities offices.
When Edwards knocked on his hotel room door, Nowak declined to speak to the 2 Investigators, and told us to contact the Diocese when asked if they had him move into the motel.
After requests for information and interviews were denied, Edwards went to the Joliet Diocese on Sept. 13 to speak to Bishop Robert Daniel Conlon, at which time Diocese spokesman Ed Flavin lied.
“He’s leaving for Ireland right now,” Flavin said.
Yet Conlon was still in town three days later, at a mass in Shorewood. His pilgrimage to Ireland didn’t start until Sept. 17.
We wanted to ask Conlon in part about Nowak. Are they monitoring him? Why, with eight credible victims, was he once housed next to a middle school? When CBS 2 started investigating, he moved, and moved again to the hotel.
Eddie Burkel and Steve Janik both were 13 when Nowak sexually abused them.
“In helping me button my pants, he got down on his knees in front of me, and put his hand inside my underwear and fondled me,” Burkel said.
“He asked me if I knew what oral sex was. And I said ‘No idea.’ And he said, ‘Let me show you. He took a book out and he showed me,” Janik said.
On Facebook, Nowak recently posted, “Please pray for me. It is a difficult time in my life.”
“In regard to our beloved bishop, Daniel Conlon. He has cared for me well,” Nowak added.
“I’ve never been mad with Father Nowak, which sounds strange, but I’ve been furious with the bishops and the people in the power that have not done the right thing,” Janik said.
“I would think, after all this time, they would learn how to get this right. And they just keep on making mistake after mistake after mistake,” Burkel said.
The Diocese cited Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s inquiry into clergy sexual abuse allegations as the reason they wouldn’t grant Edwards an interview. Madigan’s office said their investigation had no bearing.
Other church leaders, like Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich, have granted media interviews since Madigan announced she’s looking into the state’s six dioceses.