Victim of Sex Abuse by Priest Sues the Springfield Diocese

By David Van Den Berg
Belleville News-Democrat
July 4, 2002

A former priest who was assigned to churches in Madison County resigned from the priesthood in Texas after admitting he abused children in the Springfield Diocese decades ago, according to published reports in Springfield and Amarillo, Texas.

A man who currently lives in Westmont, Ill., a western suburb of Chicago, is alleging the Rev. G. Neal Dee abused him between 1964 and 1968. Frederic Nessler, a Springfield attorney who is representing the man, would not reveal the victim's name but said he was born in 1953.

Nessler said his client plans to seek a monetary settlement from the diocese. According to the Springfield State-Journal Register, Nessler's client is the only person to come forward with abuse allegations against Dee.

However, Nessler noted that when his client wrote the Springfield Diocese earlier this year asking for information on where Dee was, the diocese said he was in ongoing therapy and there was no evidence of a lapse. And Nessler said that makes him wonder whether his client is really the only person Dee abused.

"If the first instance of abuse they heard of regarding Father Dee was when my client initially wrote to them this year, then why did they respond by saying Father Dee was in ongoing therapy and there was no evidence of a lapse?" he said.

Officials with the Springfield Diocese could not be reached for comment.

Dee was ordained as a priest in 1964 and first served as associate pastor at Blessed Sacrament parish in Springfield. Dee moved from there to St. Mary's Catholic Church in Alton and later served at St. Boniface in Edwardsville, St. Matthew's in Alton, St. Alphonsus in Brighton, St. Elizabeth in Marine and St. Gertrude in Grantfork. Dee moved to the Amarillo Diocese in 1988.

Dee resigned Friday because of the Catholic Church's new policy on priest sexual abuse, called the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, passed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at its meeting in June in Dallas, according to the Amarillo Globe-News. The charter requires abusive priests to be removed from active ministry.

However, the policy still is under review and has not been approved by the Vatican.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.