February 26, 2006

Priest steps down after abuse claims

Chicago Tribune

Associated Press
Published February 26, 2006

PEORIA -- A Roman Catholic priest from central Illinois who recently was accused of sexual abuse nearly 25 years ago denies the allegation but has agreed to step down from public ministry, the Peoria diocese said.

The abuse allegedly occurred while Rev. William Virtue served in the Joliet diocese, but Peoria diocese officials provided no further details "out of respect for the privacy of the individuals involved."

A spokeswoman for the Peoria diocese declined to comment further Friday. A spokesman for the Joliet diocese was at a funeral Friday and unavailable to comment, his office said.

Virtue, 57, has served in about 10 central Illinois churches since joining the Peoria diocese in 1988 and most recently was administrator of St. Theresa Catholic Church in Earlville, north of Ottawa.

Posted by kshaw at February 26, 2006 07:13 AM