February 05, 2006

Past won't be repeated, bishop vows

Chicago Tribune

By Crystal Yednak, Tribune staff reporter. Freelance reporter Steve Brosinski contributed to this report
Published February 5, 2006

Joliet Bishop Joseph Imesch said he relied heavily on the advice of professional therapists when deciding to return priests involved in sexual abuse cases to the ministry.

"The actions of those priests happened before psychologists recognized that behavior of that kind was indicative of a severe problem that could not be adequately treated," Imesch wrote in a letter that was read at weekend masses.

In a 2005 deposition unsealed in court last week, Imesch was questioned about his handling of cases over the last 30 years in which he did not report information about sex abuse cases to police and he allowed the priests to remain working after learning of the abuse accusations.

Though some of the alleged abuse happened in the late 1970s and 1980s, Imesch has drawn fire for decisions he made more recently to allow some priests who allegedly sexually abused children to continue in the ministry. After Imesch faced increasing criticism for those decisions, those priests were removed in 2002 from public ministry.

Posted by kshaw at February 5, 2006 08:19 AM