Carbondale Man Complains about Priest

By Robert Kelly
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
May 1, 1993

A complaint filed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights alleges that a Roman Catholic priest made unwanted sexual advances toward a man from Carbondale, Ill. The priest was removed recently as pastor of a church in the Belleville Diocese. The complaint was filed in March by William T. Boyd, who authorities said worked as a tour guide for Golden Frontier Tours, which is affiliated with the Catholic Church. Boyd alleges that the Rev. Robert Vonnahmen made unwanted sexual advances while Boyd was working for the tour group earlier this year.

Vonnahmen was removed in March as pastor of St. Joseph's Church in Elizabethtown, Ill., pending a diocesan investigation of other allegations of sexual misconduct against Vonnahmen. A total of five priests in the Belleville Diocese have been removed from pastorates since early March because of allegations of sexual misconduct. No criminal charges have been filed. Boyd and Vonnahmen were unavailable for comment on Friday. Jackie Lustig, a spokeswoman for the Human Rights Department, confirmed that Boyd had filed his complaint against Vonnahmen about a month ago. Lustig declined to discuss the specifics of the charge. She said charges brought to the department usually take about 18 months to be investigated and resolved.


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