The Catholic Diocese of Peoria , Illinois is claiming that personnel decisions regarding priests are confidential, and not subject to civil court review. This latest turn in the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis arises out of a lawsuit recently filed againts the Peoria Diocese by Andrew Ward. Ward, age 20, filed suit in June, accusing now retired Monsignor Thomas Maloney of sexally abusing him at Epiphany Catholic Church, located in Normal, Illinois, between 1995 and 1996. The Diocese recently filed responsive pleadings seeking dismissal of the lawsuit. The Church apparently argued that it is Constitutionally-protected from disclosing church policies on hiring, supervision and termination of priests. The Church further argued, that if the lawsuit were allowed to go forward, Courts could be asked to evaluate Catholic Church doctrine and religious principles relating to personnel decisions. Precisely the point. Civil juries should be allowed to evaluate, and if appropriate, award damages against those Dioceses that knowingly permit serial predator/priests to posted in positions where they have ready, unsupervised access to children. This “Constitutional” argument is simply the latest argument offered by the Church to avoid facing responsiblity for the appalling way pedophiles priests were simply reassigned to different parishes and word of their activities buried by the Church.
Not suprisingly, apparently Peoria Diocese officials were aware of allegations made against Maloney by a young woman before he was assigned to Ephiphany parish.