May 17, 2006

Views on Imesch, scandal divided but strong

Daily Herald

By Christy Gutowski
Daily Herald Legal Affairs Writer
Posted Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Three decades after he was molested by a priest, George Knotek said he was “victimized again” when he reached out for Bishop Joseph Imesch’s help.

“He was guarded and outwardly gracious but legally cunning,” the Minnesota man said. “I was basically told I’d have to appear before a review committee rather than given an apology. They err on the side of protecting themselves rather than caring for survivors and children.”

But Rev. Thomas White — a beloved Wheaton priest who was accused, then cleared, of sexual abuse — offered a sharply different perspective. Imesch promptly placed him on leave in late 2003 after an Aurora man claimed White abused him 24 years earlier. Five months later, his accuser recanted and an exonerated White returned to St. Daniel the Prophet Catholic Church.

“I told (Imesch) it was a damn lie and he agreed,” said White, now retired. “But he did what he had to do and put me on leave. There’s all kinds of people trying to tear him apart, but he was a great bishop as far as I’m concerned. This man has served the church faithfully for 50 years.”

Posted by kshaw at May 17, 2006 06:15 AM