Bishop Says Reasons for Sex Abuse Are Elusive

By Sanchez, Robert | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), April 18, 2002 | Go to article overview

Bishop Says Reasons for Sex Abuse Are Elusive


Sanchez, Robert, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Robert Sanchez Daily Herald Staff Writer

In the end Bishop Joseph Imesch didn't dodge questions about the sexual misconduct scandal facing the Catholic church.

For more than an hour Wednesday night, Imesch took questions from a large audience of students and adults at Elmhurst College.

Most of the queries dealt with subjects like why Imesch became a priest and what values he deems important.

But by the time the question-and-answer session nearly over the leader of the Joliet Diocese was on the hot seat about sexual misconduct allegations against priests.

One student had a simple question for the bishop: Why?

"I don't want to minimize what has happened in the Catholic Church," Imesch responded. "It is destructive, and I have no answer as to why this is taking place.

"But it's very disturbing, obviously, to the Catholic faithful, to the victims first and foremost, to their families and the priests who work hard to serve their people.

"It's a disgrace. It's shameful. It's an embarrassment. It's sinful. Why? I have no idea."

Imesch's appearance at Elmhurst College was scheduled months in advance. Before his talk, he broke the ice with the audience by joking about the television crews that showed up.

"I never get television cameras," he said. "I can't imagine why they would be here trying to televise this."

Right before the talk, Imesch had to be ushered away from the news media gathered around him to ask about the latest allegation of sexual abuse against a former Joliet Diocese priest. …

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