Bishop Jenky Removes Seven Priests

By Scott Richardson
Pantagraph (Bloomington, IL)
May 31, 2002

PEORIA - Catholic Bishop Daniel R. Jenky asked seven priests to step down from public ministry Thursday because of allegations of sexual abuse.

Jenky said the men no longer may wear cleric garb or a Roman collar. They also are to refrain from the using the titles "Father" or "Reverend."

They are:

The former Monsignor Norman Goodman, 73, former pastor of Holy Family Parish in Lincoln.

Edward Bush, 70, former pastor of St. Patrick, Colona.

John Anderson, 69, former director of cemeteries, director of the Propagation of the Faith, director of King's House of Retreats in Henry and chaplain of St. Joseph's Retirement Home, West Peoria.

Robert Creager, 74, former pastor of St. Patrick in Ottawa.

Walter Bruening, 73, former pastor of St. Joseph and St. Mary in Henry.

Richard Slavish, 68, former pastor of St. Anthony, Matherville, and St. John, Viola.

Gregory Plunkett, 57, pastor of St. Catherine's Parish, Aledo, and St. Mary's, Keithburg. Plunkett was the only one of the seven who still led a church.

Jenky became bishop in early April. The Peoria diocese knew of allegations of sex abuse against Goodman that surfaced in 1997. He retired shortly thereafter.

The diocese has settled lawsuits involving 15 of Goodman's victims, according to the diocese's lawyer, Frederic W. Nessler of Springfield and Peoria. Negotiations are continuing for a 16th victim, the last to step forward, he said.

The alleged abuse spanned the 1970s to the early 1990s and involved altar boys who were between the ages of 8 and the early teens, Nessler said.

Non-disclosure clauses kept him from discussing the settlements, he said.

Allegations against the other six priests, based on incidents dating from 20 to 40 years ago, surfaced in the past two months. Diocese spokeswoman Kate Kenney said 13 victims came forward in that time.

In Plunkett's case, an allegation dates to before his entrance in the seminary.

As recently as a week ago, The Pantagraph asked about any new reports.

Asked why the diocese did not disclose them, Kenney said the new reports were not deemed "credible" at that time.

She declined to give a total of monetary damages awarded to the victims, saying she could not violate non-disclosure pacts entered by the diocese's insurance carriers.

She said the diocese's share of the settlements is "in the six figures."

Jenky named a 13-member review committee last week. A week after his arrival, he announced a 10-point plan to address sexual abuse of children.

"As Bishop, I would like to once again personally apologize to all victims and their families who have been hurt by any priest or lay person representing our local church," Jenky said in a prepared statement released Thursday.

"Please also know that even in the highly charged and often confusing climate of these days, our Diocese has not hesitated to follow our procedures regarding sexual misconduct and to act decisively no matter how painful or embarrassing might be the consequences or how far in the past the abuse may have taken place," Jenky said Thursday.

Nessler termed Jenky's actions as "bold." He said his clients were "vilified" by some in Lincoln after their allegations became public.


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