Kentucky Priest Will Be Accused
California Man's Suit to Name Whitley City Cleric
By Art Jester
Lexington Herald Leader
August 16, 2002
A Roman Catholic priest in Whitley City will be accused of sexual abuse in a civil lawsuit that will be filed Monday in Joliet, Ill., a lawyer said yesterday.
Keith Aeschliman, a Joliet attorney, said the lawsuit will allege the Rev. Carroll Howlin repeatedly sexually molested the plaintiff, Michael Powers, when he was a 15-year-old student.
The alleged sexual abuse occurred over seven to eight months at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Lockport, Ill., Aeschliman said.
Howlin, 67, will be accused of battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress, Aeschliman said.
The other defendants will be Bishop Joseph Imesch and the Catholic Diocese of Joliet, Aeschliman said. They will be accused of negligent hiring and retention of an employee; and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Aeschliman said the lawsuit will seek damages "in excess of $50,000" but cannot state a larger amount under Illinois law.
Powers, 44, lives in California and is married and has children. He will have no comment, Aeschliman said.
Howlin and Imesch declined comment yesterday.
Howlin, a priest who belongs to the Joliet diocese, received permission to move to Kentucky in 1977 to do "home missions." In 1988, he became pastor of Good Shepherd Chapel, a parish with 23 families in Whitley City, in McCreary County.
Imesch placed Howlin on administrative leave April 14 after the diocese received allegations that the priest had committed sexual abuse.
Aeschliman's comments yesterday were in a written statement for the news media and an interview.
In the written statement, Aeschliman said Imesch and his immediate superiors "knew or should have known of the dangers and explosive propensities of Howlin and that he was an unfit agent to act as a priest and have access to minors such as Michael Powers."
Powers is named in the lawsuit "at his request and insistence," Aeschliman said.
Powers originally had planned to become a missionary priest. He receives counseling for psychological problems stemming from the alleged abuse, the lawyer said.
Howlin has written a newspaper column in McCreary County and has been praised for Good Shepherd Mission's charitable works.
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