$4.14 Million Settlement In A Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Involves 14 Men Purporting They Were Sexually Abused By 5 Roman Catholic Priests During the 1960s through the 1980s.
Fourteen men will be paid $14.4 million by a Chicago Roman Catholic Diocese after a recent sexual abuse lawsuit settlement involving the 5 Catholic Priest. The clergy priest sexual abuse lawsuit was brought by four victims who contend the Diocese of Joliet knew the priests were pedophiles, but still allowed them access to young boys. Court records show that two of the priests served prison terms for child sexual abuse and were registered as child sex abuse offenders.
Court documents in this sexual abuse lawsuit indicate the men were preteens and young teens when the childhood abuse took place. The suit alleged that the Diocese of Joliet knew about the events and the history of sexual abuse, but did nothing about it. “The complaints allege that the Diocese of Joliet knew or should have known about the risk of abuse, or actual incidents of abuse, and yet engaged in a pattern and practice of hiding what it knew, and covertly transferring pedophile priests around the diocese and out of state – ultimately to protect its interests instead of the interests of the children entrusted to it, that it had a duty to protect,” the prosecution attorney said in a statement about the case. According to court documents, much of the abuse took place at church retreats and some occurred inside school classrooms. The sexual about lawsuit alleges that the priests repeatedly forced students to engage in sexual situations.
The priests named in the suit were James Nowak, Lawrence Gibbs, Myles White, Michael Gibbney, and Fred Lenczycki. These five Priests served at different parishes throughout DuPage and Will parishes during the period of abuse. Court records show that Lenczycki and White had served prison terms for child sexual abuse and were registered as child sex abuse offenders. White died in 2012 without any sexual abuse convictions.
According to the court records, the diocese knew Nowak had inappropriate interactions with children. He was not banned from children’s locker rooms or other personal situations until the 1990s, although he was employed by the diocese since the 1960s, the lawsuit stated. One victim, 61-year-old Steve Janik, came forward with his abuse story in 2012 after reading about another boy who was abused by a priest. “If I give that power to another person, I think I’ve done a good thing,” Janik told the Chicago Tribune.
The $4.1 million settlement will be shared equally between the 14 men named as sexual abuse victims in the lawsuit. The diocese has not made an official statement about the settlement, but previously, the diocese released personnel files of 16 priests who had substantiated allegations against them in a non-related case from 2013. The Catholic diocese has not released the files of the priests named in the current suit as of April, 2015. The Catholic Church has declared that the safety of children is of the utmost importance to them moving forward.