Man accused in abuse cases removed from priesthood
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Vatican's defrocking of a Roman Catholic priest whose alleged molestations of an altar boy decades ago cost a southern Illinois diocese and its insurer $6.3 million was welcomed Friday by the victim's attorney as long overdue.
In a statement published in the Diocese of Belleville's newspaper, Bishop Edward Braxton said 78-year-old Raymond Kownacki's defrocking took effect Jan. 11 as part of a papal decree that called the move "for the good of the church."
"It was a complete surprise. I had no idea it was in the works," said Mike Weilmuenster, the attorney who successfully sued the diocese on behalf of James Wisniewski, who said he was repeatedly molested by Kownacki for years during the 1970s.
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