Fr. James Burnett: Allegations of Sexual Abuse of a Minor Have Been Admitted, Established or Determined to Be Credible

Fr. James Burnett

Ordained: 1968

  • 1969-1974: St. Charles Borromeo, Bensenville, IL (JOL)
  • 1974-1990: St. Mary, Mokena, IL (JOL)
  • 1990-2002: St. Peter & Paul, Naperville, IL (JOL)
  • 2003-2006: The Cathedral of St. Raymond, Joliet, IL (JOL)
  • 2007-2008: Unknown
  • 2009-2017: Leave of Absence (JOL)
  • 2018-2019: Unknown


After working for over three decades in the Diocese of Joliet, Fr. Burnett was placed on administrative leave in 2006, after a man filed a lawsuit alleging he had been sexually abused as a child by Fr. Burnett. According to the lawsuit, Fr. Burnett sexually abused the boy approximately 40 times at St. Mary Church in Mokena, Illinois, starting in 1978 when the boy was 8 years old. At some point following the first accusation, a second man came forward also alleging he had been sexually abused by Fr. Burnett. In March of 2007, the Diocese of Joliet announced that its Review Committee found the first accusation not credible, but was unable to resolve the credibility of the second accusation.

Following the first two accusations, a third man came forward and filed a civil lawsuit. It is believed that this lawsuit was eventually settled in March of 2013. After the lawsuit was resolved, the Diocese of Joliet purportedly conceded that all three allegations against Fr. Burnett had been substantiated and deemed credible. The Diocese of Joliet also added Fr. Burnett to their list of “Diocesan Priests with a Credible Allegation(s) of Sexual Abuse of Minors Made Against Them While Serving in the Diocese of Joliet” with “Substantiated Allegations.” Fr. Burnett’s current whereabouts and whether he has or has had access to children since 2007 are unknown.