Chaplain at Edward Removed

By Rudy M. Vorkapic
Chicago Daily Herald
April 13, 2002

A chaplain at Edward Hospital in Naperville was removed Friday by the Joliet Diocese from "any type of ministry" over allegations of sexual abuse in the 1970s.

Officials said the purported victim, who is now over 40 years old, recently came forward and made the accusations against the Rev. Phillip Dedera, 57, who officials said resides at the rectory of St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Naperville. Efforts to reach Dedera there were unsuccessful.

Dedera has worked at the hospital for the past four years and also has served as chaplain at St. Patrick's Residence nursing home at 1400 Brookdale Road in Naperville for the past six years.

He is the second priest and hospital chaplain the Joliet Diocese has removed from duties in the last week over past sexual abuse allegations.

Edward Hospital officials said only that they knew of no problems involving Dedera, who was assigned to the hospital and the nursing home by diocese officials and was not a staff member of either facility.

Dedera often was called in to minister to Catholic patients and their families, hospital officials said.

On Monday, the Joliet Diocese removed the Rev. Gary Berthiaume from his 11-year post as chaplain at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove. The Catholic priest who was living at Cenacle Retreat House in Warrenville was relieved of his priestly duties following revelations he spent time in prison in 1978 for sexually abusing an altar boy in Michigan.

The diocese Monday said the hospital "was fully aware" of Berthiaume's background before be began there. In a prepared statement, the hospital said he was not allowed contact with pediatric patients.

Joliet Diocese Bishop Joseph Imesch said no misconduct allegations have been made against Berthiaume since he began serving in the Joliet Diocese in 1987, and that Berthiaume deserves to put the past behind him.

"It is very difficult for someone who has served 12 years as chaplain to have the (newspaper) ruin whatever is left of his life," Imesch said Monday.


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