On Wednesday April 30, 2014, five lawsuits were reportedly filed against the Diocese of Joliet. Each of the lawsuits alleges that a priest in the Diocese of Joliet sexually abused children and that the diocese did not take appropriate actions to protect them.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, all of the abuse alleged in these lawsuits occurred decades ago and was committed by one of four priests. The paper identifies the four priests as Rev. Leonardo Mateo (deceased), Rev. Lee Ryan, Rev. Lowell Fischer (deceased), and Rev. Frederick Lenczycki.
Why the Diocese of Joliet Is Named in These Lawsuits
While the specific priests named above allegedly committed the abuse, the victims are suing the Joliet Diocese because they say that:
- The church knew of credible allegations of child sex abuse by priests and failed to notify the police and parishioners.
- The church protected priests who were violating the law.
- The church failed to protect children from abuse.
The plaintiffs are asking the church to release all documents concerning the abuse of children by priests in the Diocese of Joliet. So far, the diocese has released 16 of 34 known files relating to the sexual abuse of children.
The diocese did not immediately comment on the lawsuits other than to say that it had not yet been formally served and that once diocesan officials had a chance to review the documents, they would respond in an appropriate forum.
Have You, or a Loved One, Been Abused by a Priest?
If you were sexually abused by a priest or anyone else, in any diocese in Illinois, it may not be too late for you to come forward, to seek justice, and to take steps to protect children. Please contact us today for a free and confidential consultation and please share this post with any of your friends or relatives who may have suffered this kind of inexcusable and intolerable abuse.