Joliet, Illinois: How one abuse victim pushed for release of secret church files, and prevailedApril 10, 2013
By DAN FASY
It could’ve been a heart-breaking tale. Instead it’s eminently heartening, about a man wanting to do more than settle his case with Catholic Church officials who, for more than half a century, were the enablers and protectors of pedophile priests in and around Joliet, Illinois.
In a superb story (URL below) by three Chicago Tribune reporters, it’s recounted how David Rudofski stood up to the power of the Joliet Archdiocese. Rudofski was sexually abused the day of his first confession. In settling his case, Rudofski demanded that church officials make public what proved to be more than 7,000 documents detailing how pedophile priests were protected and child victims were ignored.
According to the Tribune article, church officials verified the claims of Rudofski, now a 38-year-old electrician. Part of the archdiocese’s offer to the abuse victim included a personal apology from a bishop and at least six times what Rudofski makes per year. This would have been in trade for the abuse victim limiting publicity.
Rudofski, however, according to the Tribune, wanted the diocese to pay in “a currency far more precious to the church than money. He demanded that the diocese settle its debt by turning over the secret archives it maintained on abusive priests and making them available for public consumption.”
“If people don’t know how this was allowed to happen for decades, they can’t prevent it from happening again,” Rudofski said.
The story details the importance of releasing pertinent information previously not made public. The reporters claim that “documents also raise new questions about whether the church has been forthcoming about the number of local priests involved in the scandal and the percentage of clergy confronted with credible claims.”
The story points to “the ineptitude and indifference that greeted the allegations almost since the religious district’s inception in 1948. The errors span more than six decades and involved three bishops, 91 places of worship and more than 100 victims.”
As an example of the entrenched indifference that continues to define church officials, the Tribune story notes that, reached at his home, retired Bishop Joseph Imesch, 81, said he didn’t want to discuss details of the revelations in the documents. He told the Tribune:
“‘I’m not going to rehash all of this. I know what I did; I know what I should have done,’ he said, expressing frustration with the way news reports portrayed his conduct.”
Other church officials responded to reporters’ queries by citing what they claim is statistical verification that pedophilia doesn’t occur among priests any more than it does among members of other professions.
David Rudofski has provided more than just a great service to other victims of child sexual abuse. He also has become a terrific role model who has the potential of emboldening many other victims to come forward and take on those responsible — officials who somehow believe an insincere apology from a retired bishop somehow makes it OK that the institution countenanced pedophiles’ crimes for six decades.
We at Kosnoff Fasy have welcomed as clients many victims similar to David Rudofski. Such victims deserve justice. Moreover, as Rudofski and others have shown, victims needn’t live in fear of pedophile-enabling organizations. We know that, in a court of law, the truth about child sexual abusers and their protectors will prevail.
We will advocate for you. Contact us at:855-LAW4-CSA, 855-529-4272.
Our attorneys are highly experienced in childhood sexual abuse law and offer free initial consultations to potential clients. We are also willing to assist other attorneys in sexual abuse cases. Please call 206-257-3590, or email us directly. Conversations will be kept confidential, and even if you are unsure about a lawsuit, often we can direct you to the assistance you need. You will be treated with compassion and respect.
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Tim Kosnoff, direct: 425-837-9690
Dan Fasy, direct: 206-462-4338
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