April 01, 2006

Bishop sorry for comments about sex abuse

Chicago Sun-Times

April 1, 2006


In a letter sent to every parish in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet this week, Bishop Joseph Imesch asked forgiveness from those who have been hurt by his decisions and comments about clergy sexual abuse of minors.

Imesch's letter, released Friday, made reference to a deposition he gave last summer in a lawsuit filed against the Joliet Diocese by a man who says he was molested by a priest of the diocese, Edward Stefanich, in the 1960s.

Stefanich pleaded guilty in 1987 to criminal sexual abuse for molesting a 14-year-old girl and was sentenced to six months in jail. He has since left the priesthood.

In the deposition given in August 2005 but unsealed by a judge in February, Imesch appeared unapologetic for not having removed from ministry priests about whom he knew there were allegations of sexual abuse with minors, including one priest who went skinny-dipping with boys and played poker with them in the nude. The bishop sent that priest for counseling and then reassigned him to another parish, where he was again accused of abusing youngsters.

Posted by kshaw at April 1, 2006 09:13 AM