February 15, 2006

Priest receives support

The Herald News

By Ted Slowik
staff writer

JOLIET Parishioners from churches where the Rev. James Burnett has served are expressing "overwhelming support" for the Roman Catholic priest, a Joliet Diocese spokesman said Tuesday.

In the week since 34-year-old Dan Shanahan of Phoenix, Ariz., went public with an accusation that Burnett molested him, the diocese has received many letters and cards of support from Burnett's parishes in Joliet, Mokena, Naperville and Bensenville.

Supporters like Michael Goebig, a classmate of Shanahan's at St. Mary Church in Mokena, say the claim is inconsistent with Burnett's character.

"During my eight years at St. Mary's, I never saw any indication of, nor did I ever feel that there was any inappropriate behavior going on between Father Burnett and any of the other students," Goebig said.

Burnett has denied the allegation and is on administrative leave until the diocese's review board considers the claim and recommends what action Joliet Bishop Joseph Imesch should take.

Posted by kshaw at February 15, 2006 07:57 AM