Joliet Diocese To Release Documents Related to Sex Abuse by Priests

Read the first memos made public Tuesday, which give a small taste of the thousands of internal personnel records that will be released as part of a sex abuse lawsuit settlement.

The Catholic Diocese of Joliet will release as part of a lawsuit settlement more than 7,000 internal documents that reportedly show every bishop since the 1950s has been aware of diocese priests sexually abusing children.

The documents include personnel files and other items related to 15 diocese priests accused of sexual abuse over a 50-year period ending in the 1990s. They will be released by plaintiff David Rudofski through his Chicago lawyer, Terrence Johnson, as part of his settlement with the diocese.

Rudofski was 8 years old and making his first confession at St. Mary's Church in Mokena when he was sexually molested by the Rev. James Burnett in the 1980s. He filed a personal injury suit against the diocese in 2007.

Read more: Joliet Diocese Updates List of Credibly Accused Abusers

The settlement, approved Wednesday by Will County Judge Michael Powers, also includes an undisclosed amount of money for Rudofski and a written statement from current Joliet Diocese Bishop R. Daniel Conlon admitting Burnett's sexual abuse of Rudofski, Daniel Shanahan and a third man whose identity has not been made public.

Previously, Burnett denied he had any sexual contact with Rudofski as a child.

In the first step toward making the diocese records public, three memos not related to the Rudofski case were released by Johnson. The victims' names were redacted.

(The actual documents released today are included in the media section with this post.)

The documents relate to sexual abuse reportedly carried out by the Rev. James Frederick in 1967 involving several boys working and staying overnight at the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Lockport. In them, the boys describe to the Rev. Roger Kaffer, then the seminary rector, how Frederick touched and rubbed their penises while they were in bed at night.

The statements were sent to then-Bishop Romeo Blanchette, along with a memo from Kaffer about Frederick's unemotional response when confronted with the allegations. Frederick told Kaffer he wasn't sure what happened because he had been drinking, according to the documents.

"It dismayed me that he gave no indication of remorse, made no reference to the spiritual implications of all this to himself or to the seminarians," Kaffer wrote. "(Frederick) asked me what the bishop would do, and I said I was not sure. Would the bishop remove him from the seminary? I said I did not think it would be good for him or the seminarians if he were to remain—did he? He said he thought he could control his problem."

Frederick was not removed from the priesthood, and went on to serve as the pastor and associate pastor of several churches. He died in 1988.

Conlon issued a statement in reference to the Rudofski lawsuit settlement, saying that while he was "not present during the unfolding of this history, I feel a deep concern for the victims/survivors of abuse and their families. Their pain does not go away with the changing of bishops."

However, he also expressed concern that releasing the documents may cause more pain for the victims and that "no human action, really, can fix the past."

"Even with the volume of material now available through the release of these records, much of the content was previously reported by the media," he said. "Nevertheless, I realize the details that may be revealed are likely to open old wounds. I regret the pain that this information will cause victims/survivors, since many of them will vividly recall what they endured as if it happened yesterday."

He added that the diocese has updated its policy on child abuse and protection and hired a full-time director of child and youth protection to ensure past mistakes are not repeated.

Susan Hopkins March 13, 2013 at 02:07 PM
I totally agree. And all those who knew should be held accountable.
NancyC March 13, 2013 at 05:48 PM
It is amazing how easy it is for those bashing the "sheep" who remain in the Catholic Church to determine that every priest, bishop, and cardinal was involved in the cover up, or did nothing to end it. It is exactly the same as labeling all members of any group because of the sins, idiocy, or rottenness of a few. Horrible harm has been done, no doubt and steps have been taken to stop it, forgiveness has been sought, remember you will be forgiven only to the extent that you forgive. The sheep remain because they fully understand that the Head of the Church is Christ, perfect and Holy, who invites weak, sinful mankind to carry on His mission, and they fail, but the Church will not fail and it will not ever fail . The donations of the faithful do a lot more than fund sex abusers but it's just too easy to pick on the "bad" that you see. I suspect you can't find anything good about of lot of people and organizations in your life!
Muha March 13, 2013 at 08:56 PM
To all of you atheists, agnostics, and fallen away Catholics quit bashing the GOOD Catholics. We are angry about all of the coverups. We don't agree with the horrible behavior, but don't label all of us as"bad". We don't stop following the Catholic Church because of some evil people. I believe those of you who dislike us will find ANY reason to put us down. I trust my children in the Catholic school more than any government run education facility. Nancy, I agree with you.
boozer mcgee March 13, 2013 at 08:58 PM
Nancy C, I do not need some man-made church for GOD to hear me when I pray! I can be on the toilet taking a good old fashion healthy shit and thank GOD I can do so rather than be shiting in a colostomy bag! If GOD ONLY HEARS AND SEE'S YOU IN CHURCH...HEAVEN IS GOING TO BE OVER-CROWDED!
Muha March 13, 2013 at 09:00 PM
No, I truely believe Hell is going to be overcrowded. Boozer, you can believe what you want. I can care less.
NancyC March 13, 2013 at 09:28 PM
Boozer must be hitting the bottle his last comment makes no sense, none the less he will be in for quite a surprise when he meets the Son of God(present in every tabernacle within every Catholic Church around the world, waiting for the likes of boozer) who came and saved and who will come again but this time to
NancyC March 13, 2013 at 09:28 PM
liz March 13, 2013 at 11:49 PM
God created man in his own image, then he created woman from the rib of adam so he could have COMPANY. Thats the problem priests need pussy .... not religion.
Mark Donahue March 14, 2013 at 01:22 AM
Which god supposedly created man and woman? Zeus? Mithras? Ra? There's been thousands of them! And no more evidence for one over another.
Mark Donahue March 14, 2013 at 01:25 AM
You have evidence for this supposed son of god? And if he were coming back, why take so darn long? Haven't his good people waited long enough? Hasn't it occurred to you that may NOT be coming back? Hasn't it ever occurred to you that he may not have ever existed? That god never existed? If not, why not? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and as far as I am aware there isn't any out there.
Mark Donahue March 14, 2013 at 01:29 AM
Where did I put down the good Catholics? All I asked was why people didn't question more. That's what baffles the hell out of me. Blind acceptance of claims with no evidence. Just because you believe in something doesn't make it true. I believe there's a little invisible dragon named Rex on my right shoulder. Can you prove he's not there? There's the same amount of evidence for Rex as there is for your god, or any other gods like Zeus. *pats Rex on the head*
Muha March 14, 2013 at 02:17 AM
Mark, it's called Faith. "Happy are those who have not seen but still believe". You don't have to believe anything. That is totally your decision. Jesus is the Son of God. The only thing that matters to me is that I believe it. I don' t go around making fun of other peoples beliefs. If someone slaps your cheek give them the other. Like it is said: it is better to live your life believing there is a God and find out there isn't , than to live your life believing there is no God and find out there is.
Muha March 14, 2013 at 02:24 AM
Another thing , our concept of time is not the same as God's. There is no time with God. It again is all about Faith.
Mark Myslinski March 14, 2013 at 04:56 PM
Money? What money? It is all coming out of the pockets of parishoners not the "predatory" priests. Defrocking, take away their pension, let them go and earn their own living in the outside world and have them registered and published as all sexual offenders are.
Mark Donahue March 14, 2013 at 05:56 PM
In regards to faith, I simply have an image for you: http://truth-saves.com/images/faith.jpg And, OH, MY god, you actually brought up Pascals Wager! That's hilarious. Another link for you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaMjUeuaJ0k I prefer civil conversation, so I will as you this: Have you ever honestly questioned WHY you believe what you do? Have you looked at all the vidence, and came to the conclusion of a god? Or were you simply raised in the faith, and carry it on to this day, without ever questioning? All I ask, is that people ask questions. If you've done that, and still want to stick with religion, then go for it. Just don't push your beliefs on others. Simple as that. This is why Atheists like me get so riled up. The interfering in the lives of others. Leave the gays alone. Leave women alone. Leave everyone alone. If you did that so would I. Have a great day.
Mark Donahue March 14, 2013 at 06:06 PM
How do you know this? Did god himself come down from the heavens and tell you? I'm always baffled when people presume to speak for this god that has never bothered to offer the world any evidence of his existence. The bible, with it's many contradictions, translations, and re-writings, certainly doesn't count as credible evidence. If he/she/it would just open up the clouds, and let us all know in a booming voice, "I'm here!" then this whole matter would be resolved. Until then, I have to side with reason and logic.
Lizabeth March 14, 2013 at 07:58 PM
Sounds like Mark was trolling this story looking for someone to bite. Unfortunately Mark, unlike most things in life, you need to believe before you can see. I am not Catholic, but I have a very personal relationship with Jesus. With all relationships, it is a 2 way street. I can't expect you to understand that any more than you would get my relationship with me and my husband. You don't know them, you don't know me, you can't understand the relationship. I get where you are- I used to be angry and callous over things I didn't understand.But the one thing I wish I could convey to you (and hope the rest comes to you on it's own) is this: snark does not equal intelligence. You want to have a debate? Go into it with the assumption that the other person is dumber than you will ensure you will not learn anything. You already put that person in a defensive position. There is no wisdom in NOT wanting to learn something in a debate. So you decide- you want to learn or you want to snark? Which guy do you want to be?
NancyC March 14, 2013 at 08:01 PM
Yes Mark God himself did come to earth for you, no matter how you mock him, He came for you. He is a person and he has a name. Jesus the Christ. Check your history Mark. The world, the earth and the beauty of you are the evidence of God. Mankind from the very beginning has known there is something much greater than us. As I said in my first post, God is with us. He speaks to us more often than we know. Come to Mass, he will speak to you. Do you believe what you read in the dictionary? If so, why? Have you met he/her who wrote it?
Lizabeth March 14, 2013 at 08:14 PM
Mark, was this not your quote? "All I ask, is that people ask questions. If you've done that, and still want to stick with religion, then go for it. Just don't push your beliefs on others. Simple as that. This is why Atheists like me get so riled up. The interfering in the lives of others. Leave the gays alone. Leave women alone. Leave everyone alone. If you did that so would I." Yet you opened with this conversation with this: "Disgusting. And people still follow the Catholic Church? They still; believe in anything they say? I'm astounded by the blind allegiance. Why not question? Why not wonder? Why not walk away? I'm amazed at how hard of a time people have of letting go of religion. It took me several years, but I'm so much hap[pier without it. When you see it from the outside you realize how absolutely ridiculous it all is. Including this new pope election. What a crock of $#*%!" Which was completely attacking other people without reason, then trying to get them to think like you do. So would it not be fair to say that ALL people want other's to see their points? Only athiests can "shove their views down throats" and Christians should not speak at all? What is the defination of being a hypocrite, if not that?
Mark Donahue March 14, 2013 at 08:50 PM
There IS no debate. I understand this sounds arrogant, but that's how I feel after years of reading and learning. Forgive me, but the whole Personal relationship with Jesus thing just boggles my mind. If that's what you need in your life, that's great, but don't expect me to believe it. I'm not angry and callous. I used to be a Catholic. My parents indoctrinated me, just like so many others have done. It was around my time in college when I started looking deeper. Asking questions. Doing research. It all fell apart pretty quickly, but it took me several years to admit to being an Atheist. I am a positive individual with a wife and son. I love to garden and read. Please don't make assumptions about me just because I don't believe in something with no reason. I'm trying to be civil here. Have you questioned your faith? Have you done research? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Since when was it a negative thing to want to know more? And why does religion get a pass?
Mark Donahue March 14, 2013 at 08:56 PM
My history? Where is god or jesus in the history books? I've never read that. The bible is certainly not a history book. It's just as valid as a Harry Potter book. I assume you're aware of all the contradictions? All the horrors your god engages in? Rape Genocide, murder,etc? I went to mass for many years. No god ever spoke to me. I believed in him, but he never showed up or spoke. Probably because he/she doesn't exist. None of the thousands of gods that people have believed in over the years do. Why are you bringing up the dictionary? What does that have to do with the validity of religion? *facepalm* Why do I bother?
Mark Donahue March 14, 2013 at 09:01 PM
Oh, there's no doubt I can be a jerk sometimes. I take full credit for that. I realized my error, and that's why my newer posts are more civil. I apologize for that. If asking people to question their beliefs counts as shoving my views down someones throat, then I am guilty as charged. I ask sincerely: Have you not ever questioned? I hope you have. Just because you want something to be true, doesn't make it true.
Lizabeth March 14, 2013 at 09:18 PM
Not only have I questioned, I was like you. I would absolutely foam at the mouth over Christianity. I was a scoffed and a mocker and could not understand why anyone would believe such rubbish. Then something real and tangible happened. I was looking into the history of biblical stories and finding them to be true. In history books. I don't know which ones you are reading, but I can't believe that you find none of them to be true. There is proof of historical events as they were written in the bible. In one single moment, my whole belief system was rocked. That is where I met Jesus. There is a relationship that was not present before and is now. Yes, that is my proof and unfortunately does not work for you. That is how God works. You have free will. When you freely choose to believe, you then and only then truly see. So no, this is not something pounded into me since childhood. This was adulthood and I was seeking truth, no matter what that truth was. Then I found it.
Lizabeth March 14, 2013 at 09:59 PM
I want you to come to one point with me. The disciples of Jesus- real people in history books. Nothing disputed about them. There is Roman cencus confirming their lives and their deaths. Ill give you time to look that up if you don't believe me, because it is important that you look and find that to be true for yourself. These men died for the cause of Jesus. No one dies for a lie. People did for things that are lies that they think are true, but no one dies for something they know to be a lie. They either saw what they saw and wrote about, or they made the whole thing up. I don't care what you stand for, but the odds of you willing to die for it are pretty slim. Understandable for all of us. How much more slim are those odds though, if you know for a fact what you are tortured for and facing your death over is a lie? And the fact that more than one did this? Several?? What are those odds now? Several men agreed to die for something they KNEW was a lie? And they all agreed to do this willingly? No. Like I said, many may die for a lie that they believe to be truth. No one is willing to die for a lie they know is a lie.
Don March 15, 2013 at 12:10 AM
If you want evidence that God is real, just look around and take it all in and open your eyes and your mind. Do you honestly believe that the greatest things in life are here because of accident, or chance? Things like intellect, love, sex, happiness - these are the evidence that God exists - but most people merely take them for granted. They never really think about WHY these things are what they are and why we have them in our lives. Why aren't humans just another being on Earth living a simple life like the other species we share this world with - going about our day just gathering enough food to get through the next day, mate, reproduce, and die? Answer me that? The evidence that God exists is all around you. Whether you choose or refuse to believe it is entirely up to you. Do I ever question why I believe what I do - of course, I'm not sure there's honestly one person who does believe that hasn't. Everyone's faith and beliefs are tested at one point in life or another. Whether you turn away from God when your faith is challenged is entirely up to you.
NancyC March 15, 2013 at 12:37 PM
Priests are not forced into the priesthood or into embracing the vow of Celibacy. They do not go into this blindly. They embrace the virtue of Chastity and are given the graces(powers) necessary to avoid falling into impurity. They need the prayers and support of all men and women of good will who are also bound to practice this virtue, even in the married state of life. Celibacy is a great gift given by this heroic men called by God making available to all mankind God's saving power(grace) fully available only in the Catholic Church. Sins against purity send more souls to hell than any others. God Bless you Liz as you strive to grow in goodness and love of thi s virtue.
NancyC March 15, 2013 at 02:33 PM
The Catholic faith is reasonable, but there are truths revealed that are beyond our wee little human capacity to fully grasp or reach by reason alone, that is where the gift of Faith comes in. It is the power to believe all that has been revealed, to embrace it, and to share it. Each human person is responsible for searching for the truth. It is an obligation to seek it, so of course I have. The questions that helped me come to the firm knowledge and belief in God were these: What power did I have, did I exercise, in order to gain my existence? What did I do to deserve it? The only answer to these two questions was "nothing". That led to the understanding that my life is a gift. When given a gift, it is given by an "other" and that "other" is due thanks. So I try to live my life in thanksgiving to God who loves me in all my awfulness! Another question you need answer is whether you can create "something", anything, out of emptyness? Can you make a rose? A grain of sand? I care Mark that you have walked away from the Catholic Church and so does it's founder, the second person of the Holy Trinity, the Divine person who walked this earth for 33 years. Died willingly to give you the chance to live forever in joy, peace and happiness that has its source in God, if only you believe. His rising from the dead is the proof he is God. For 40 days he appeared to hundreds. St. Thomas traveled the road you're on and he was convinced of his error so that you need not be.
boozer mcgee March 17, 2013 at 12:32 PM
you cannot reason with so called " CHRISTIANS"...DON'T BELIEVE ME, ASK A COP!
Lizabeth March 17, 2013 at 02:42 PM
Boozer- have a green beer for me. :)
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