JOLIET, Ill. (AP) — A suburban Chicago Catholic diocese reached a $1.4 million settlement of a lawsuit filed by three men who allegedly suffered repeated sexual molestation at the hands of their priest.
The three unidentified men were allegedly abused by Father Leonard Mateo of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet between 1980 and 1982 when the victims had yet to reach the age of 11. They came forward with their allegations against Mateo in 2014. The settlement reached in Will County Circuit Court will be distributed among the plaintiffs, who request anonymity.
Attorneys for the three victims say Bishop Joseph Imesch said in a deposition priests with credible sexual abuse allegations wee allowed to continue ministry within the Diocese of Joliet without any warning to parishioners.
According to spokesman Edward Flavin, Mateo left the diocese in 1984 and died in 2004, and Imesch died in 2015.