Released documents allege misconduct on former area priests

  • Written by Bob Rakow

Each of the Catholic parishes in Oak Lawn was served at one time by priests who have substantiated allegations of sexual misconduct with minors, according to records released by the Archdiocese of Chicago.

The Archdiocese of Chicago released documents last Thursday related to 36 Archdiocesan priests who have substantiated allegations of sexual misconduct with minors, all of whom have been listed on the Archdiocese’s website for years.


The list includes the Rev. John E. Hefferan, who served at St. Gerald; the Rev. Robert Kealy, who spent time at St. Germaine; the Rev. Donald Mulsoff, who served at St. Catherine of Alexander; the Rev. Norbert Maday, who was an associate pastor at both St. Louis DeMonfort in Oak Lawn and Our Lady of the Ridge parish in Chicago Ridge; and the Rev. Michael H. Watson, who worked at St. Linus. The Rev. Gary M. Miller, who spent time at St. Bernadette Parish in Evergreen Park, also is on the list.


The documents released last week are in addition to those released in January related to 30 other priests. The release, in combination with the January release, covers all the priests who have substantiated allegations of sexual misconduct with minors identified on the Archdiocese’s website, with the exception of two priests where ongoing processes do not permit release, the archdiocese said.


Ninety-two percent of the cases included in the documents occurred prior to 1988. Additionally, all of the priests involved in this document release are out of ministry and 14 are deceased. Additionally, no priest with even one substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor serves in ministry in the Archdiocese of Chicago today, according to the archdiocese.


The priests with ties to Oak Lawn, Chicago Ridge and Evergreen Park are:


Ordained in 1956, Hefferan was removed from public ministry in October 2003, three years after he retired. Hefferan served several parishes throughout the Southland, including St. Gerald from 1990-97. Information released by the archdiocese include reference to a letter from a victim who said Hefferan “inappropriately” felt and kissed her once in the late 1970s when she was 12.


Kealy was an associate pastor at St. Germaine in Oak Lawn from 1972-77, the first parish he served after his ordination. Documents released by the archdiocese indicated that it received phone calls from a victim in 2007 and 2011 regarding Kealy. The victim also sent emails to a member of the archdiocese’s review board for child abuse regarding complaints of sexual abuse against Kealy.

In June 2001, the archdiocese received complaints that Kealy abused a male minor. The cardinal's review board deemed the accusation unsubstantiated, but in March 2002, the anonymous informant shed his anonymity and provided additional details that led to Kealy's removal from his position of pastor in Winnetka.

He was limited to ministry with restrictions and monitoring in March 2002, removed from public ministry three months later and resigned in April 2006.


Mulsoff, who is deceased, served Oak Lawn’s St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish from 1969-74. Documents released show that the mother of a victim wrote Mulsoff and the archdiocese’s vicar for priests about her concerns that Mulsoff was engaging in sexual acts with minors. One victim accused Mulsoff of molesting her at St. Catherine when she was 13. Mulsoff was ordained in 1969 and removed from public ministry in 2002.


Maday, a former associate pastor at St. Louis DeMontfort Parish in Oak Lawn from 1969-77 and Our Lady of the Ridge Parish in Chicago Ridge from 1983-89 was convicted in 1994 and given a 20-year prison term for molesting two teenage boys in separate 1986 parish outings to Oshkosh, Wis. Other victims accuse him of acts of sexual abuse dating back to the 1970s. Maday was removed from the priesthood in 2007, 43 years after his ordination.


Miller served at St. Bernadette Parish in Evergreen Park. A review board determined that there was reasonable cause to support an accusation that Miller sexually abused a minor. Miller resigned in 2012, nearly 30 years after he was ordained.


Watson was an associate pastor at St. Linus Parish in Oak Lawn and served at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills. An archdiocesan review board determined there was reasonable cause regarding allegations that Watson sexually abused minors, and he left active ministry in 1993.