Diocese Forks Over $6.3 Million

     BELLEVILLE, Ill. (CN) – The Belleville Diocese finally handed a $6.3 million check to the attorney for a victim of priestly sex abuse, ending 9 years of legal wrangling.
     A St. Clair County jury awarded James Wisniewski $5 million 3 years ago. The money accrued another $1.3 million in interest while the diocese filed multiple appeals.
     The Illinois Supreme Court refused to hear the diocese’s appeal in April.
     Wisniewski, now in his 50s, claimed that Raymond Kownacki sexually abused him as a child for 5 years in the 1970s.
     Kownacki was removed from ministry in 1995, after repeated allegations of abuse.
     A former housekeeper accused him of raping, beating and performing an abortion on her in the 1970s. The housekeeper claimed church authorities quietly shuffled Kownacki from one parish to another.
     The Illinois Supreme Court dismissed that case, citing the statute of limitations.
     Another case was filed against Kownacki in 2003, by a John Doe. That case was settled in 2009 for a reported $1.2 million.
     Two other cases by men who claim Kownacki sexually abused them as boys are pending.

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