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State Supreme Court Rebuffs Church Appeal

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CN) - The Illinois Supreme Court refused to hear the Diocese of Belleville's appeal of a $5 million award to a man who says he was sexually abused by a Roman Catholic priest.

A St. Clair County jury gave the award to James Wisniewski, who claimed that Raymond Kownacki sexually abused him as a child in the 1970s for 5 years.

Kownacki was removed from ministry in 1995, after several allegations surfaced.

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.

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