February 08, 2006

Joliet priest accused of abuse put on leave

Chicago Sun-Times

February 8, 2006


Bishop Joseph Imesch, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet, placed the rector of the Cathedral of St. Raymond in Joliet on administrative leave Wednesday amid allegations that the priest sexually abused a boy more than 20 years ago.

The Rev. James Burnett, rector of the cathedral since 2003, had been "monitored" by another priest and a staff member since just before Christmas 2005, when allegations of abuse were brought to the diocese, a spokesman for Imesch said in a statement.

Dan Shanahan, 34, of Phoenix, a former Marine, has accused Burnett of molesting him from 1978 to 1983 at St. Mary's parish in Mokena, beginning when Shanahan was 8.

Thomas Kerber, spokesman for the Joliet diocese, said that when the allegations first arose, Burnett was told not to have any contact with children and the allegations were given to a diocesan review board. Shanahan's allegations also were brought to the attention of the Will County state's attorney.

"Dan suffered in silence until about three months ago when he mustered the courage to tell his sister," said Shanahan's attorney, Jeff Anderson.

Posted by kshaw at February 8, 2006 08:17 AM