Previously secret records released
Cleric sued his victim, SNAP, Attorneys and others
Cleric worked in Chicago, New York and Pennsylvania; now reportedly heads an “independent” Catholic shrine in Du Page County
Victim reported abuse to an archdiocesan bishop who accused him of lying
A new $1,375,000 settlement has been made in a child sexual abuse case involving a Catholic priest who worked in the Chicago archdiocese and now works as a pastor at Shrine of Christ the King in Winfield (Du Page County).
In a lawsuit filed in 2006 plaintiff claimed that from roughly 1987 through 1992, Fr. Chester (Czeslaw) Przybylo repeatedly abused the then 13 year old Polish immigrant boy at Five Holy Martyrs (4327 S Richmond Street, 773 254 3636) in the Chicago archdiocese. The lawsuit filed by the victim in today’s settlement alleges that Przybylo molested him at the parish rectory, the Chicago Health Club, and the River City Apartment complex. The victim, who filed his lawsuit anonymously, is now in his 30s, married with children, and living in Illinois.
According to newly-released documents, now-deceased Chicago Bishop Alfred Abramowicz confronted Przybylo regarding allegations that he sodomized a different teenager. Abramowicz believed that the incident occurred because Przybylo did not deny the allegations. (Document 5)
Further, a former Chicago archdiocese priest who was assigned at Five Holy Martyrs with Przybylo told Bishop Abramowicz that he saw the plaintiff wearing only his underwear in Przybylo’s room. (Document 8)
Remarkably, however, when plaintiff reported Przybylo’s abuse to Abramowicz in 1991, Abramowicz accused him of lying and urged him to go to confession, the victim reports.
In April, 1983, parents from Five Holy Martyrs parish wrote then Cardinal Joseph Bernardin about witnessing Przybylo hitting seven kids who were allegedly talking when they shouldn’t have been. (Document 1)
In July, 1984, Fr. Joseph Janicki, a high-ranking Milwaukee archdiocesan staffer, wrote that he thought Przybylo “is paranoid” and “crazy,” and has heard “innuendos about immortality and homosexuality” and that “Przybylo tried to proposition a priest.” (Document 2)
In an April 1990 memo, now-retired Chicago Bishop Raymond Goedert stated that a Chicago priest reported that gossip about Przybylo “seems to be more of a sexual nature. Ed has been hearing things such as Chester taking young boys up to his room and in the parish office.” (Document 3) Another memo drafted by Goedert in May 1990 indicates that the same Chicago priest reports having “heard different priests who were either stationed with Chester or know about him refer to him as “Chester the molester.” (Document 4) Likewise, another Chicago archdiocese document states that “Fr. Przybylo was known as “Chester the Molester” by the police officers in the neighborhood” around Five Holy Martyrs. This same document indicates that “there was an occasion when [an Archdiocese priest] walked by Fr. Przybylo’s room and saw a boy in only his underwear sitting on the cleric’s floor. . . ” (Document 8.)
In 2004, a top Joliet church official wrote then Bishop Joseph Imesch that Przybylo’s ‘hand-picked board’ took over the Shrine and its assets of “over $1 million.” (Document 9.) According to a lawsuit filed in Du Page County, a year later, Imesch and other top staffers were notified that “it appears” Przybylo inappropriately used $35,000 “which was to be used for Masses” for his “lawyers’ fees.”
The sex abuse lawsuit against Przybylo was announced at two separate news conferences held in 2006 by SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org, 312 455 1499).
In response, Przybylo sued the victim, the victim’s attorneys, SNAP, and a national research group called BishopAccountability.org, claiming slander.
Those lawsuits are still pending, as is the victim’s lawsuit against Przybylo for sex abuse (the $1,375,000 settlement is only on behalf of the Chicago archdiocese).
Przybylo is now a pastor at Shrine of Christ the King church in Winfield, an independent entity. Przybylo worked in the Chicago Archdiocese (312 751 8200) for 15 years before attempting to move to the Joliet Diocese (815 722 6606) in 1993.
Przybylo, a Chicago native, was ordained in 1976. He was educated at a seminary in Poland.
According to BishopAccountability.org, Przybylo lived at Holy Innocents parish in Chicago from 1991-93 and has been affiliated with the Our Lady of the Rosary Shrine in Whiting, Indiana.
He worked at churches in New York (St. Stanislaus in Utica in the Syracuse Diocese from 1976-77) and Pennsylvania (St. Mary’s in Reading in the Allentown Diocese from 1977-80). In 1981, he was reportedly in the Milwaukee Archdiocese. He worked at St. Michael’s parish in Dane Wisconsin (in the Madison diocese) where he reportedly lived with Fr. Albert J. Kunz whose 1998 murder remains unsolved.
The Shrine of Christ the King church is at 27W631 Beecher Avenue in Winfield (http://shrineofchristtheking.org/, 630 690 3520).
CONTACT — Attorney Jeff Anderson of St. Paul MN 612 817 8665 cell
Attorney Marc Pearlman, Chicago 312 261 4550, 773 368 0142 cell