Diocese of Joliet’s List of Credibly Accused Priests

The Diocese of Joliet has released the names of priests and others who it believes have been the subject of “credible allegation(s) of sexual misconduct with minors made against them while serving in the Diocese of Joliet.”  Please know that these lists are not complete, and in December 2018 the Illinois Attorney General issued a report claiming the Catholic Church in Illinois has withheld the names of more than 500 priests who have been accused of sexually abusing children.  Put simply, ...

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Archdiocese of Chicago’s List of Credibly Accused Priests

The Archdiocese of Chicago has released the names of priests and others who it believes have had “at least one substantiated allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor.”  Please know that these lists are not complete, and in December 2018 the Illinois Attorney General issued a report claiming the Catholic Church in Illinois has withheld the names of more than 500 priests who have been accused of sexually abusing children.  Put simply, if you were sexually abused by a priest ...

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Doe 2 v. Boy Scouts of America — New Case Law for Abuse Survivors

We represent more than a dozen men who were sexually abused in the 1980s by a Boy Scout leader named Thomas Hacker.  After we filed suit on their behalf, the Boy Scouts moved to dismiss their claims and asserted the claims were barred by the statute of limitations.  The statute of limitations is a law that requires people to file a lawsuit within a certain amount of time.

We responded to the Boy Scouts’ motion by arguing that our clients’ claims should ...

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Sexual Abuse Lawsuits Filed Against the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Chicago Presbyterian Church

Seven men have come forward and brought new suits against the Chicago Presbyterian Church, the Archdiocese of Chicago and related organizations due to the harm caused by the sexual abuse they endured at the hands of Presbyterian minister Douglas Mason of Chicago.  Mason was previously accused of sexually abusing boys in the 1990s.  Four of those plaintiffs settled for a confidential amount, believed to be $11 million.

In the new lawsuits, plaintiffs allege that Mason met, groomed and abused the boys ...

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Father Frederick Lenczycki

After being rejected by both the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Diocese of Green Bay, not surprisingly Father Frederick Lenczycki was accepted as a seminarian in the Diocese of Joliet in 1963, with Bishop Blanchette reserving his vote until Lenczycki’s IQ could be determined.  Prior to his ordination in 1972, Lenczycki’s interest in working with boys was well-known and he expressed he wanted to be trained in “adolescent psychology.”  In 1980 Lenczycki experienced some unknown “difficulties” and requested a transfer ...

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Father Francis Lee Ryan

Rev. Francis Lee Ryan was “given the chance” to study for the priesthood in 1959 and was ordained in 1968.  In the early 1970s, the Diocese of Joliet received multiple letters from parishioners “criticizing Father Ryan,” however the Diocese has yet to produce those letters.  In 1985, the Diocese appointed Ryan as Diocesan Director of Vocations, a position of power he used to groom and abuse young boys who desired to enter the priesthood.  In April 1991 the Diocese received ...

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Father James Nowak

Difficulties with Father James Nowak began early on while he was still in the seminary.  In 1960, he was asked to leave the Capuchin Order because he was not “fit in regard to the vow of chastity.”  It was generally known that Nowak repeatedly watched others in the shower or using the restroom, and would roam the corridors and frequent the showers in order to seek such opportunities.  When he wrote to Bishop Blanchette in 1966 to request incardination into ...

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Father Michael Gibbney

Throughout Father Michael Gibbney’s seminary years in the early 1970s, many of his superiors not only expressed their concerns about Gibbney, but many also refused to recommend him for advancement.  In 1975 when Gibbney petitioned the Bishop of Joliet for ordination, the Bishop was instructed to pay attention to “certain items” in Gibbney’s file that required attention and a subcommittee was formed.  Over objections by some on the Seminary Board, Gibbney was ordained in 1975.  In 1985 after a father ...

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Father Lawrence Gibbs

Father Lawrence Gibbs, considered Joliet’s “most notorious priest abuser,” was recognized early on in seminary as a “poor candidate” for the priesthood.  The Diocese of Joliet received repeated warnings about the character and propensities of Father Gibbs.  Although in 1964 the faculty at St. Mary of the Lake seminary voted against allowing Gibbs to continue with his vocation and subsequently asked him to leave, Gibbs continued on at St. Procopius seminary.  Again his superiors informed the Diocese of Joliet that ...

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Father Lowell Fischer

Originally a Trappist monk, Father Lowell Fischer requested incardination into the Diocese of Joliet in 1962.  Fischer wrote to Bishop Blanchette and explained that he had worked with young boys for the past four years, but that his “extremely active work” caused many “misinterpretations and misunderstandings.”  When Fischer left the monastery, his former abbot cautioned Bishop McNamara to put Fischer under “careful surveillance of a good experienced pastor . . . lest in his naiveté, he might make some serious ...

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