Diocese moving 2 priests accused of sexual assault away from Lisle school
Responding to parents' concerns about two priests accused of sexual abuse living near a Lisle junior high school, the Diocese of Joliet on Monday said both priests either have been or will be moved to other living facilities.
Spokesman Edward Flavin said the Rev. Richard Jacklin, 67, was relocated Sunday from St. John Vianney Villa, a retirement community for 13 priests in Naperville immediately west of Kennedy Junior High School. The Rev. James Nowak, 81, is scheduled to be moved Wednesday, Flavin said.
Flavin could not say where the priests will live, but he assured parents their new residences will not be close to children.
"They will not be anywhere near a school," Flavin said.
The Diocese of Joliet began responding Thursday to parent concerns raised by a group whose children attend the school in Naperville Unit District 203. The group, organized as "Stop Catholic Cover Up" on Facebook, called for the diocese to put the protection of children first, especially children who walk or bike to school past the retirement community.
Flavin said diocesan officials heard those concerns and moved to address them.
"Based on the feedback that we received, we wanted to make a rectification and move them accordingly," Flavin said of the priests. "The resolution took place very quickly."
Jacklin faces criminal sexual assault charges involving a physically and developmentally disabled adult in Kankakee County. He is due in court Oct. 4.
Nowak, who served as pastor at Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church in Naperville from 2002 to 2007, is listed on the diocese's website as having a "credible/substantiated allegation of sexual abuse against minors." He was suspended by the diocese in 2012 and later was named in a more than $4 million settlement involving five priests accused of molesting young boys from the 1960s to 1980s.
In a statement, the diocese said Naperville police investigated and found that the two priests living at St. John Vianney Villa were not violating any laws.
"The diocese appreciates that the safety of children must always be the top priority," the statement said. "We stand united with District 203 in this regard."