URGENT! Only 3 days left! We must still match $2,050 to win a $25,400 Challenge Grant! Can you help?
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Belleville diocese ends costly 9-year legal battle, settles with abuse victim

Catholic World News - August 12, 2011

Finally ending a 9-year string of legal appeals, the Diocese of Belleville, Illinois, has paid a financial settlement to a sex-abuse victim that was awarded by a jury in 2008.

The Belleville diocese paid $6.3 million to James Wisniewski, a victim of abuse by Father Raymond Kownacki. At trial, lawyers for Wisniewski had demonstrated the officials of the Belleville diocese were aware of Kownacki’s record of abuse and violence, yet continued to give him parish assignments.

Wasniewski originally won a settlement of $5 million from the diocese. But that figure was increased by $1.3 million in interest accrued during several the past 3 years, during a string of unsuccessful legal appeals by the diocese. In June, Belleville’s Bishop Edward Braxton announced plans to appeal to the Supreme Court of Illinois to reconsider its decision on one such appeal; the court had already rejected the argument of the diocese and turned down a previous bid for reconsideration.

The protracted legal appeals led some Belleville priests to call for the resignation of Bishop Braxton, saying that his intransigence has pushed the diocese toward bankruptcy. The bishop insisted that the appeals were made on matters of principle, “in the hope of a clarification of the law and a consistency in applying the law to the Catholic Church.”

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Spring Challenge Grant
Progress toward our Spring Challenge Grant goal ($2,050 to go):
$25,400.00 $23,349.71
8% 92%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Matching Campaign
Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org
Shop Amazon

Recent Catholic Commentary

Urgent! We need extra financial support between now and May 24th. 7 hours ago
What's wrong with these pictures? 12 hours ago
What can we learn from the dignity of military services? 13 hours ago
Was Lewis “basically Catholic”? May 21
Reading The Diary of a Country Priest: Scandal May 20

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days