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Suit: Priest ‘coerced’ church member into sexual acts

Updated: February 2, 2013 12:14PM

A woman is suing the Chicago Archdiocese and a local order of Jesuits priests for at least $300,000, claiming a priest who performed services at a west suburban church “coerced” her into a sexual relationship.

The plaintiff, listed as Jane Doe, was a member of the St. Francis Xavier Parish in west suburban LaGrange when the Jesuit priest “coerced” her into sexual acts in 2003, according to the lawsuit filed Friday in Cook County Circuit Court.

The suit claims the plaintiff and the priest, who is also a licensed clinical psychologist, had a close relationship that included counseling for her depression.

The plaintiff alleges the priest took advantage of her “emotional dependence” and engaged in an ongoing sexual relationship with her.

It also claims negligence on the part of the Chicago Archdiocese and the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus for appointing the priest to a position of influence over parishioners.

A person affiliated with the St. Francis Xavier Parish in LaGrange said the priest assisted with an occasional mass and had been assigned to a church in another state.

The seven-count suit claims negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress and sexual exploitation in psychotherapy.

Chicago Archdiocese spokeswoman Susan Burritt said officials there have not seen the lawsuit and would be unable to comment.

The Chicago Province for the Society of Jesus did not return a call for comment.

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