2 men sue Chicago archdiocese, allege priest molested them in ’60s
BY LEEANN SHELTON Staff Reporter April 22, 2013 10:44PM
Updated: April 22, 2013 11:51PM
Two men are suing the Chicago Archdiocese and a former priest, claiming he molested them during unsupervised overnight trips more than 50 years ago.
The plaintiffs — now both in their mid-60s — say they met then-priest Alexander Sylvester Baranowski when they were students at St. Wenceslaus grammar school in Chicago.
Both men say Baranowski molested them on separate overnight ministry trips to Springfield in 1961 and 1962, on which he would take only one student with him, according to the suit filed Monday in Cook County Circuit Court.
They claim that on each trip, Baranowski feigned that the hotel had made a mistake, and that the only room available had only one bed, forcing them to share a bed with him, the suit said. The priest then sexually abused them while they were sleeping, both men claim.
Church officials have since substantiated allegations against Baranowski, accusing him of sexual misconduct involving minors. He resigned in 1975 and was stripped of his priesthood a year later, according to the archdiocese’s website.
The men blame the archdiocese for failing to act, claiming church officials knew about the alleged abuse but concealed it from their families, law enforcement and other Catholics to protect the church’s reputation.
A spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Chicago said Monday night that officials have not yet seen the suit and declined to comment.
The suit claims abuse, negligence, fraud and emotional distress against the archdiocese and against Baranowski. It seeks at least $500,000 in damages.