Joliet Diocese priest sex abuse survivors say list of abusers is not complete

Michelle Gallardo Image
Wednesday, May 31, 2023
Survivors of sexual abuse in Joliet Diocese speak out after report
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At the Joliet Diocese today, fallout from the release of last week's damning 700-page report on the Catholic Church continued.

JOLIET, Ill. (WLS) -- At the Joliet Diocese Wednesday, fallout from the release of last week's damning 700-page report on the Catholic Church continued as members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, spoke out against what they believe is a continued lack of transparency.

"The Joliet bishop continues to protect predators for the same reason that most of his brother bishops continue to protect predators and that is because he can get by with it," said David Clohessy of SNAP.

The report, issued by Attorney General Kwame Raoul, identified 69 "credibly accused" Joliet area priests or brothers, eight more than what the diocese lists on its website. But could there be even more?

READ MORE: Child sex abuse by IL Catholic clergy spans state and decades, attorney general's report said

"We in SNAP have found several men who we believe should be on the Bishop's list and are not on his list," Clohessy said.

Speaking from his home in Florida, Mark Wethersbee described the abuse he suffered at the hands of two Joliet priests starting when he was just 13.

"I think if God were small enough to hear me he wouldn't be big enough to help me," he said.

His first suicide attempt came when, after building up the courage to ask for help, he was victimized again.

"I went to Father Kevin McBrien and I asked him if he would help me because I was being molested by Father Ryan. And he showed me pictures of his other young friends that were gay and then he started touching me," Wethersbee said.

And while Bishop Ronald Hicks has expressed "profound remorse" for the diocese's failures, those who've been victims do not believe enough is being done.

"How many times has the church said in response to outcomes like this that there is no need to worry about this? This is all behind us. This is not happening now? How many times have they said that?" said abuse survivor Tom Carter.

The diocese of Joliet did not acknowledge ABC7's requests for comment today, but in a statement issued following last week's report they said no cleric, with a substantiated allegation against him is currently active within their ministry.