February 10, 2006

Man alleges sexual abuse in Woodstock parish in '70s

Chicago Tribune

By Crystal Yednak
Tribune staff reporter
Published February 10, 2006

A Colorado man filed a lawsuit Thursday against a former Catholic priest and the Rockford Catholic Diocese, alleging the priest sexually abused him at St. Mary Parish in Woodstock in the late 1970s.

William Joffe was removed from the priesthood in November 1993 after he was sentenced to a year in prison for embezzling $264,000 from one of his parishes. Rockford diocese officials said Joffe also had been accused of sexual misconduct then.

The lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court on Thursday alleges that Joffe sexually abused Andrew Howell when Howell was about 8 years old. The abuse allegedly took place between 1976 and 1979, when Joffe was pastor of the church. The boy accompanied Joffe on retreats to a farm, according to the suit.

The lawsuit says that Howell repressed memories of the abuse until February 2004.

Posted by kshaw at February 10, 2006 07:50 AM