Imesch Calls for Input on Abuse Cases
Bishop Wants to Hear Response before Dallas Meeting

The Herald News
May 25, 2002

JOLIET — Bishop Joseph Imesch on Friday called for input regarding clerical sexual misconduct from parishioners throughout the Joliet Diocese.

The bishop is seeking the information as he prepares for his participation in the U.S. Conference of Bishops from June 13-15 in Dallas, according to the Catholic Explorer, the diocesan newspaper.

Imesch has asked each pastor and parish council president to seek feedback from parishioners on a list of proposals to address the issue of clerical sexual misconduct with minors. Those proposals are slated for discussion by the bishops during their conference next month.

"I want to hear from the people of the diocese," Imesch told the Explorer. "The diocese is asking for input of all the parish councils. The parish council presidents were asked to share this (information) with any other group in the parish they wish."

Topics expected to be discussed in Dallas include whether priests against whom an allegation of sexual misconduct has been substantiated should ever be reassigned to any ministry; reporting allegations to civil authorities; and accountability, including whether zero tolerance and full reporting should be adopted on a national basis.

"This is a difficult time for the church, and I want to be able to express the viewpoint of the people of this diocese," Imesch wrote in a May 6 letter to parish council members. "I value your input, and I assure you of my appreciation."

In addition to seeking input from the parish councils, Imesch made a similar request to Joliet's Pastoral Council and religious communities of men and women within the diocese.

The home page of the diocesan Web site, [], invites visitors to e-mail comments and suggestions to its independent advisory group for improvements to the diocese's existing policies on the issue of sexual misconduct with minors. The policies are also available on the Web site.

"In this time of challenge and hope, we want to be sure we are doing everything in our power to continue to safeguard the children in our care, and to act compassionately and responsibly toward all victims of this tragedy," Imesch said. "We continue to encourage all victims to come forward, and we pray for the healing of all who are affected."

Parishioners also can write to Imesch at: Bishop Joseph Imesch, Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet, Office of the Bishop, 425 Summit St., Joliet, IL 60435.

Eleven priests with ties to the Joliet Diocese have been removed from ministries in recent weeks.


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