Man Accused in Abuse Cases Removed from PriesthoodBELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - A Roman Catholic priest whose decades-old molestation of a former altar boy at St. Theresa's Catholic Church in Salem led to a $6.3 million payout in an Illinois lawsuit has been kicked out of the priesthood by Pope Benedict XVI.
Diocese of Belleville Bishop Edward Braxton announced the move involving 78-year-old Raymond Kownacki in a statement published in a recent edition of the diocesan newspaper, The Messenger. Braxton says the papal decree calls the defrocking "for the good of the church."
Kownacki is living in a St. Louis-area nursing home and has refused media requests for interviews. He has not been charged criminally.
Kownacki's misdeeds resulted in a $5 million jury award against the diocese to former St. Theresa alter boy James Wisniewski in 2008. That payout grew to $6.3 million to reflect interest that accrued while the diocese appealed.
See other LocalNews news:Salvation Army Looking For Volunteers Monday Morning
Centralia Native Killed in Northern Illinois Traffic Crash
Two Hurt In Centralia Crash
Investigation Underway Into Death of Salem Man
Kinmundy and Cisne Women Hurt in Clay County Crash