February 07, 2006

Joliet Diocese bishop pleads case to Catholics

The Beacon News

By Maureen O'Donnell

By turns defensive, apologetic and beseeching, Bishop Joseph Imesch of the Joliet Diocese pleaded his case in a letter to churchgoers that was read from pulpits Sunday.

Imesch's handling of reports of sexual misconduct by priests prompted him to write to worshippers, who said they were relieved to hear him respond but still gave his message mixed reviews.

Imesch's letter started out: "I deeply regret the pain and embarrassment that you have experienced from the media reports these past days."

Imesch was referring to the release of a deposition in which he admitted not removing priests despite credible abuse allegations against them, and acknowledged he knew about reports that the Rev. Larry Gibbs went skinny-dipping with boys and played naked games with them. After he saw a psychiatrist, Gibbs was moved from a parish in Lombard to a parish in Lockport, where he was later accused of abuse.

Posted by kshaw at February 7, 2006 08:36 AM