Joliet Diocese Settles Sex Abuse Claim and Agrees to Release Secret Files

In a landmark development, the Joliet Diocese agreed not only to settle a sexual abuse case involving one of its priests, but also to release 7,000 pages of internal church documents which detail sexual abuse allegations involving 15 priests.  The victim, whose case prompted release of the files, filed suit against the diocese in 2007.  He claimed that he was sexually assaulted by Reverend James Burnett when he was 8 years old.  The victim claimed that the assault happened during his first confession.  The priest was removed from ministry in 2006.  He served in churches in Joliet, Naperville, and Bensonville.  The website for the Diocese of Joliet lists 34 priests whom credible allegations of sexual abuse have been made.  Fourteen of those priests are dead.  The victim said he refused to settle unless the documents were released.