February 24, 2006

Bishop 'hurt' by criticism

The Herald News

By Dan Lavoie

JOLIET Joliet Bishop Joseph Imesch said he is "deeply hurt" by Daily Southtown columnist Tim Placher's assertion that the diocese cannot move beyond its history of sexual abuse with Imesch at the helm.

Placher says he was abused in 1979 by the Rev. Richard Ruffalo at the priest's home in Las Vegas. In a Thursday column, Placher made his allegation against Ruffalo and criticized Imesch's handling of abusive priests.

For years, Imesch has been criticized by victims' advocates who say he has had a slow and coldhearted response to dozens of sexual abuse allegations in the diocese. He also transferred several priests accused of sexual abuse to new ministries where they had opportunities to molest more children.

Imesch who took over the diocese the same summer in 1979 when Placher alleges the abuse occurred accused Placher of timing his revelation to exact the most personal damage against the bishop.

Posted by kshaw at February 24, 2006 07:41 AM