Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Accused Priest Formally Defrocked

Oct 26, 2009 9:19 pm US/Central
Accused Priest Formally Defrocked

Once-Popular Father At Holy Angels Was Accused Of Molesting Boys Reporting

Jay Levine CHICAGO (CBS) ― Click to enlarge1 of 1

Former priest John Calicott (file).


It's is a bittersweet victory for alleged victims of sexual abuse by a Chicago priest.

The Vatican has now formally removed Father John Calicott from the priesthood. Those victims first came to CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine with their story more than five years ago.

It was the priest's denials that drove the victims to despair.

The last time Dave Lasley came to Holy Angels, he was asked to leave by parishioners who supported their former pastor John Calicott's campaign for reinstatement, despite the U.S. bishops' new zero-tolerance policy.

"One guy literally threatened, 'You either leave, or I'm gonna throw you out,'" Lasley said.

Monday, he was embraced by the new pastor, Father John Atoyebi, who hadn't heard that Rome has now severed all ties to Calicott. Calicott said in an interview five years ago that he had gone "to great lengths to show I am not a risk."

Lasley disagrees. He previously recounted how Calicott abused him when he was 11.

"I was assigned to his tent and I was sleeping next to him, only to be awokened in the middle of the night with him performing oral sex on me," Lasley said.

During his fight for reinstatement, Calicott and others who escaped prosecution were sent to a retreat house on the grounds of the Mundelein Seminary.

But their numbers are shrinking. According to the archdiocese of Chicago website, Calicott becomes the sixth Chicago priest laicized, or booted, in less than two years.

The quickened pace of enforcement some say is the result of a new Pope and new American Cardinal calling the shots.

But it's still not quick enough for Dave Lasley.

"There's still people out there suffering because of what they did, and there's still hierarchy in the Archdiocese that still haven't been held accounted for, for their actions, for their inaction, for their silence," he said.

He says he'll be thinking about the victims as he says his own prayers tonight.

"I'm gonna be thankful I even made it today," Lasley said. "You know, there's a lot of victims that don't make it to this day."

CBS 2 was unable to reach Calicott for comment. The Archdiocese of Chicago confirms that he is officially no longer a priest.

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