By Justin Kmitch
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Twelve years have passed since the late Rev. Donald Pock was removed as the longtime pastor at Itasca's St. Peter's Catholic Church after allegations of his past sexual misconduct were confirmed.
Pock was among 16 priests -- all with ties to DuPage County -- accused of sexually abusing minors in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet, whose long-confidential files were released to the public Wednesday by sexual abuse attorneys Jeff Anderson and Marc Pearlman.
While some files are as recent as 2002, others date to the 1950s.
But Anderson says the thousands of pages of documents released Wednesday show the diocese put a priority on "protecting themselves and their priests at the peril of children."
According to Pock's 79-page file, his trail of alcoholism and sexual abuse began in 1969 while he was pastor at Divine Savior Church in Downers Grove and spanned through his removal from St. Peter on April 26, 2002. He died in May 2004.
Also released were more than 80 pages of documents on Pock's predecessor, former Pastor Anthony Ross. The diocese placed Ross on administrative leave in April 2002 following accusations of sexual misconduct with a teen in 1982 at St. Peter's.
A nearly 400-page file detailing alleged abuse by former Rev. Phillip Dedera was also included in Wednesday's released documents. Between 1976 and 2002, Dedera served as an associate pastor throughout DuPage County, including at St. Pius X in Lombard, Visitation Church in Elmhurst, St. Walter Church in Roselle, St. Scholastica in Woodridge and most recently as the chaplain in residence at Edward Hospital in Naperville.
According to the documents, the first substantiated abuse occurred in 1974 while Dedera was an associate pastor at St. Andrew's in Romeoville.
Dedera was removed on April 12, 2002 from all types of ministry based on the 1974 allegations.
Anderson said the diocese refuses to disclose the whereabouts of more than 20 former priests accused of abuse and who could still harm children. Anderson says the diocese put up "great resistance" to turning over the files as part of civil litigation.
A statement from the diocese released Wednesday didn't mention the documents. It said "the diocese will continue to do its best to assure the safety of its children."
The entire list of documents is available online at abusedinchicago.com.