St. Louis Public Radio News
10:12 am
Thu October 31, 2002

Man Sues Retired Priest, Belleville Diocese for Abuse

Belleville, Illinois – A Champaign man is suing the Belleville
Diocese and a retired Salem priest who he says sexually abused him 19 years ago.

A lawyer representing 41-year-old James Wisniewski says his client only recently recalled the sexual abuse he says he suffered from 1973 to 1978. Wisniewski's lawsuit accuses the Reverend Raymond Kownacki.

The priest was removed from ministry in 1995 by the Belleville Diocese's Fitness Review Board. But the lawsuit claims diocese officials transferred Kownacki to the Salem job after similar allegations had surfaced about him in two previous positions.

A spokesman for the diocese declined to comment on the lawsuit today.

A message left at a telephone number listed in Wisniewski's name wasn't returned.