July 30, 2005

Diocese: Don't show abuse files

Herald News

By Ted Slowik

WHEATON The Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet is once again asking a court to bar the release of documents that could shed light on how church officials responded to allegations of clergy sexual abuse.

The diocese is asking a DuPage County judge to issue a protective order that would shield the personnel file of former priest and convicted sex offender Ed Stefanich from public view. Judge Stephen Culliton is expected to rule on the request Aug. 8.

The diocese is arguing that failure to obtain a protective order would dissuade other victims of clergy sexual abuse from coming forward, and that the privacy of others would be violated.

"The absence of a protective order could have (a) chilling effect and discourage parishioners from logging complaints or writing to the bishop regarding a variety of sensitive issues," diocese attorney James Byrne wrote in a motion.

Attorneys for a man reportedly abused by Stefanich want the judge to deny the protective order. They say they've proposed releasing the priest's file with the names of reported victims and others blacked out, but the diocese rejected that offer.

Posted by kshaw at July 30, 2005 09:03 AM