February 03, 2006

Not Considered Sex Abuse, Says Joliet Bishop


JOLIET, Ill. (WBBM Newsradio 780) -- Joliet Bishop Joseph Imesch says in a newly released deposition that he transferred to another parish a priest who skinny-dipped and played poker in the nude with young boys because the behavior was inappropriate, but the bishop did not consider it to be sexual abuse.

Imesch discussed relocating the former priest from a Lombard parish, where families accused him in 1980 of sexually abusing boys, to a Lockport parish, where he was again accused, in a deposition unsealed Thursday by a DuPage County Judge.

Imesch was deposed Aug. 5 by lawyers for a man who has sued the diocese, alleging the Rev. Edward Stefanich sexually abused him in the 1960s at the same Lombard parish where the other priest was accused in the 1980s. Stefanich pleaded guilty to abusing a 14-year- old girl in 1987.

During the deposition, Imesch said he never considered reporting to police the alleged relationship between Stefanich and the teen because he did not have the evidence to do so, according to the transcript.

Posted by kshaw at February 3, 2006 08:16 AM