February 18, 2005

Bishop hires team to check abuse reports

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

By Tim Townsend
Of the Post-Dispatch
Thursday, Feb. 17 2005

Bishop George J. Lucas of the Roman Catholic diocese of Springfield, Ill., said
Thursday that he had appointed an investigative team, headed by a former U.S.
attorney, to look into allegations of sexual misconduct by the diocese's clergy.

A spokeswoman for the diocese, Kathie Sass, said the bishop's decision to form
the panel came in the wake of an incident involving the diocese's former
chancellor, the Rev. Eugene Costa. In December, Costa was found badly beaten in a Springfield park frequented by homosexual men.

The diocese covers 28 counties, including Madison.

Sass said other allegations of clergy misconduct had come to the bishop's
attention in recent weeks, but she was not specific. "We are not talking about
anything illegal," she said, "but the bishop has been very frustrated and he
wants to figure out what is fact, what is rumor and what is sheer maliciousness, so he hired someone to get to the truth."

Lucas turned to William Roberts, a Methodist and former U.S. attorney for
central Illinois, to lead the investigation. Roberts is also a former legal
counsel for Gov. Jim Edgar and is now a partner in a Springfield law firm.
Roberts named two other attorneys to his team.

Posted by kshaw at February 18, 2005 04:45 AM