Man Sues over Alleged 1969 Rape by Priest

By Crystal Yednak
Chicago Tribune
February 24, 2006

A 50-year-old man filed a lawsuit against the Rockford Catholic Diocese and the Conventual Franciscans on Thursday, alleging that a Franciscan priest raped him when he was 13 years old.

Donald Bondick alleges in the suit filed in Winnebago County that Rev. Theodore Feely sexually abused him in 1969 when he was a boy. Feely, who died in 1991, was a priest at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Rockford, and close with Bondick's family.

The lawsuit alleges the diocese, which covers northwestern Illinois and Kane and McHenry Counties, did not do enough to protect children from Feely.

A spokeswoman for the diocese said church officials would not have an immediate response to the lawsuit Thursday.

Bondick said that a month after the rape took place, he went to a different parish for confession and told the priest in the confessional about Feely. The priest pulled him out of the confessional and told him he was making blasphemous statements, Bondick said Thursday.

After leaving Rockford, Feely worked in the diocese of San Bernardino in Southern California and the diocese of Reno in Nevada.

Bondick said the first time he broke his silence was in May 2002 when he told his wife. He said he remains Catholic and last month became Rockford coordinator of the Catholic activist group Voice of the Faithful.


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