Belleville Diocese to appeal ruling
By Maria Hickey, KWMU
St. Louis, MO. – Bishop Edward Braxton says the Diocese of Belleville will appeal the lower court ruling in a sex abuse case.
Late last month a St. Clair County jury found the diocese had concealed sex abuse allegations against the Reverend Raymond Kownacki and moved him from parish to parish. The jury ordered the diocese to pay the victim five million dollars.
In a letter Braxton sent to all diocesan priests to be read at Mass this weekend the bishop said complying with the ruling would strain diocesan resources and limit the ability to meet the needs in the parishes and schools.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests responded quickly to news of the appeal. Barbara Dorris says the Bishop Braxton is intimidating other victims into silence.
"He's sending a message to any child who is being sexually abused that if you come forward no one will help you. We will do everything in our power to protect the man or the woman who is sexually assaulting you and we'll do nothing to protect you," Dorris said.
In the letter Braxton reiterated that he will work to prevent future acts of abuse and offer counseling and assistance to those who were abused in the past.
Kownacki was removed from the active priesthood in 1995 by former Belleville Bishop Wilton Gregory.