November 26, 2005

Will Imesch deposition be opened?

The Herald News

By Ted Slowik
staff writer

WHEATON ó A newspaper is asking a DuPage County judge to unseal a secret deposition given in August by Joliet Diocese Bishop Joseph Imesch for a sexual-abuse lawsuit against the diocese and a former Joliet priest.

The Chicago Tribune is arguing that First Amendment rights trump the diocese's claims that it needs to protect the identities of alleged victims.

"The public interest in litigation relating to allegations of sexual abuse by Catholic priests is great," Tribune attorney Don Craven wrote to the court. "Questions are raised about faith in local priests, faith in the governance structure of the Catholic Church, and faith in the judicial system, civil and criminal, to respond to these allegations of wrongdoing."

Imesch testified under oath for several hours Aug. 11. The transcript of that deposition, however, is sealed from public view by order of DuPage County Judge Stephen Culliton.
Culliton is presiding over a Glen Ellyn man's lawsuit against the diocese and former priest Ed Stefanich, who was defrocked after being convicted of sexually abusing a Woodridge girl in the 1980s.

To date, this is the only civil lawsuit against the Joliet Diocese that has not been tossed out of court because of when the alleged molestations occurred. The man claims he only recently recalled the abuse alleged to have happened 35 years ago, and repressed memory claims are exempt from the statute of limitations.

Posted by kshaw at November 26, 2005 07:46 AM