Home Local Survivors network calls on Joliet Diocese to update credibly accused list with 5 more clergy members

Survivors network calls on Joliet Diocese to update credibly accused list with 5 more clergy members

by staff

Three members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests gathered Wednesday outside the Joliet Diocese offices to call on Bishop Ronald Hicks to add five priests, including the former president of Providence Catholic High School in New Lenox, to the diocese credibly accused list.

The call came a week after Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s report that found 451 Catholic clergy abused 1,997 children in Illinois between 1950 and 2019, which includes 69 clerics affiliated with the Joliet Diocese.


David Clohessy, a survivor of clergy abuse and the former director of the SNAP network, said the organization was troubled by the report.

“For decades now, Catholic bishops have said they will be transparent about abuse,” Clohessy said. “It’s time that the Joliet bishop and all bishops come clean.”


Kate Bochte, a survivors network supporter who grew up in Matteson, said while Catholic dioceses have been filled with powerful leaders, she’s learned the people have the power to hold clergy and bishops accountable and keep children safe.

“I believe we the people have the power, not them, because we have the truth,” Bochte said. “I have zero faith in any church or diocese that they are going to do the right thing.”

Calls and emails Wednesday to the Joliet Diocese were not returned. The late Bishop Joseph Imesch presided over the diocese during the majority of the report’s time period. Hicks was installed as bishop in 2020.

Shortly before the report was released, Clohessy said Hicks added seven members, most of whom have died, to the diocese’s list of clergy with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult: Silas Musholt, Charles (Edward) Potocki, Kenneth (John) Gansmann, Denis (Joseph) Hall, Jeffrey Salwach, Andre (Charles) Schludecker and Ildephonse (Edward) Skorup.

But Hicks didn’t notify the public or parishes about adding the clergy members to the list, Clohessy said, and he should have done that. SNAP also wants Hicks to add five priests to the diocese list: Richard McGrath, Robert Murphy and Thomas Corbino, and the late Frank Luke Dalton and Harold Jochem.

“Sadly, if you’re expecting the bishop to do the right thing, you’re likely to be disappointed and kids will get hurt,” Clohessy said. The Bible states “the truth will set you free,” Clohessy said, not 40% of the truth or “90% of the truth if the attorney general is breathing down your neck.”

McGrath retired from Providence Catholic High School in 2017 amid a police investigation into “potentially inappropriate material” on his cellphone.

McGrath was the subject of two criminal investigations, accused in a lawsuit by a former student of sexual abuse and deemed AWOL from his religious order. His current whereabouts remain unclear.


Authorities closed both investigations without filing any criminal charges against McGrath, who led the New Lenox school for three decades until a student reported that she saw what she thought was an image of a naked boy on the priest’s phone.

New Lenox police said they ended the cellphone investigation after McGrath “steadfastly refused” to turn over the device. In the other criminal probe, involving the sexual abuse claims by a former student, Will County prosecutors said there was “insufficient evidence to bring charges.”

Clohessy said McGrath’s criminal investigations, lawsuit and refusal to show police his cellphone make the accusations against him credible.

“To us, if you add all that up, he’s credibly accused,” Clohessy said.

In 2002, the Order of Carmelites removed Murphy from public ministry after reexamining previous allegations that he had engaged in sexual misconduct with children in Georgia and in “inappropriate behavior” with students at Mount Carmel High School, an all-boys Catholic high school in Chicago.

That ruling meant Murphy lost his job at Lewis University, a Catholic university in Romeoville, where he worked as director of ministry and a history teacher since 1987.


In 1985, the order removed Murphy from the high school after allegations surfaced he had engaged in “inappropriate corporal punishment,” or spanking, involving students. Murphy was restricted from all unsupervised contact with minors and underwent treatment from 1985 through 1999, officials said at the time.

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Corbino was placed on restricted ministry in 2012 by the Joliet Diocese and barred from having unsupervised interactions with children before he became a part-time volunteer chaplain at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield.

The hospital fired Corbino after learning about the misconduct allegation against him, and hospital officials said the diocese had not mentioned the allegation when it recommended him for the volunteer post.

Corbino transferred to the hospital after a former parishioner at St. Irene Catholic Church in Warrenville accused the priest of touching him inappropriately, taking pictures of him and forcing him to try on clothes in front of the priest as a boy. A diocese review board ruled Corbino engaged in “inappropriate behavior” but found no credible evidence of a crime, church spokesman James Dwyer said at the time.

The remaining two clergy members, Frank Luke Dalton and Harold Jochem, died years ago, Clohessy said, but their names should be included in the list.

“The pain is ongoing and the cover-up is ongoing,” Clohessy said. “It’s very comforting to victims when truth is revealed.”


Even if a clergy member were added to the list after death, Clohessy said exposing that person would help a potential Catholic mother, whose son ran away from family and the church, reach out to her son. That mother, Clohessy said, may realize her son spent time with that clergy member as a boy and around that time he began acting differently.

“That may be the moment that Catholic mom stops blaming herself,” Clohessy said.

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