February 03, 2006

Imsech's handling of accused priests to be made public

Daily Southtown

Friday, February 3, 2006

By Ted Slowik
Special to the Daily Southtown

A DuPage County judge's ruling Thursday makes public last summer's testimony by Bishop Joseph Imesch about how Joliet Diocese officials handled some reports of clergy accused of sexual misconduct with minors.

Circuit Court Judge Stephen Culliton reversed his earlier protective order that would keep secret the bishop's Aug. 11 testimony in a deposition and other documents related to accusations against former priest Ed Stefanich, of Joliet.

"We're going to go in the opposite direction," Culliton said. "There's nothing here to lead me to the breadth of the order I signed previously."

Outside the courthouse, supporters of people sexually abused by priests said the ruling is the latest in a trend of court decisions that favor abuse victims.

"The Catholic Church has traditionally kept secrets," said Barbara Dorris, victim outreach coordinator for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "The bishops promised us openness and transparency. They promised us the safety of children would come first. If Bishop Imesch has nothing to hide, there should have been no reason to keep his deposition secret."

Posted by kshaw at February 3, 2006 08:25 AM