A Chicago priest that has been accused of sexual abuse was removed from the ministry earlier this month. The Rev. Edward Maloney, a retired priest that served at St. Mark’s Roman Catholic Church at 1048 N. Campbell in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood, was forced out of the ministry after the Archdiocese’s independent review board determined that credible evidence of abuse existed. The removal of Maloney may have occurred earlier but for a slander lawsuit that had been filed in a separate unrelated case.
The sexual abuse allegations against Maloney were originally levied sometime in late 2007 when a former parishioner of St. Mark’s contacted the Diocese. The victim was weary of testifying in support those allegations because another priest, Rev. Robert Stepek, sued two brothers in November of 2006 after they came forward with sexual abuse allegations against him. The threat of a slander lawsuit was enough to keep Maloney’s accuser from coming forward against the priest. This threat was lifted in June when a state appellate court ruled that Stepek could not sue victims for statements made in cooperation with church investigators.
While the appellate court ruling was a victory for victims’ rights groups, the gap between the initial sexual abuse allegations and the board’s finding gave Maloney time to formulate his defense. Victims’ rights groups claim that this allowed Maloney to intimidate victims and formulate alibis. The victim’s original reluctance in coming forward was validated by the fact that the victim’s name was somehow leaked leading to vilification in the community. For a detailed Chicago Tribune article on the interplay between the threat of slander and victims’ rights click here.
Victims’ rights attorney Joe Klest is handling the Maloney sexual abuse victim’s case. He has fought on behalf of abuse victims for nearly 30 years and his work on this particular matter can be accessed on the above Chicago Tribune link. If you have any questions about victims’ rights in Illinois or would like to speak to attorney Klest, please click here.