February 05, 2006

Deposition, suits stun Joliet Diocese

Chicago Sun-Times

February 5, 2006


The release of a controversial deposition from the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet, coupled with two new lawsuits against the church, is the latest blow to the troubled suburban diocese, at one time among those with the highest level of priests removed from the ministry due to allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor.

The revelations in the August deposition of Bishop Joseph Imesch -- in which he admits not removing priests even when they had credible abuse allegations against them -- have led some to wonder whether he will thoroughly investigate allegations of sexual abuse in the future.

"He did not take the steps he could have to protect the children," said Lyn Schollett, general counsel for the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, which had argued to make the deposition public. "We don't have any reason to think he would act any differently if faced with future accusations."

A diocese spokesman could not be reached Saturday, but last week, the church said it was "very disappointed" that the deposition was made public.

Imesch gave the deposition as part of a civil suit filed in DuPage County by a Glen Ellyn man who alleges he was molested by former priest Edward Stefanich in 1969.

Posted by kshaw at February 5, 2006 08:22 AM