Case Involving Abuse By Lincoln Priest Headed Back To Trial Court

Lincoln – A man abused by a priest at Holy Family Parish in Lincoln in the 1990’s will have his day in court.

Monsignor Norman Goodman was a pedophile that abused children at the church over several years.  A lawyer for one victim says the Diocese of Peoria turned a “blind eye” to that ongoing abuse.

“It was sexual assault, battery, that sort of thing,” attorney Jonathan Nessler told I-TEAM reporter Doug Wolfe at his Springfield office.  “Reverend Goodman was a very bad man.”

The diocese has previously settled lawsuits connected to abuse by Goodman involving at least 13 people.  Bishop Daniel Jenky has ousted several priests accused of abuse.

Last week the 3rd District Appellate Court held a lawsuit filed against the diocese was improperly dismissed on the grounds the statute of limitations expired in the 1990’s.  The victim, now 37, did not remember the abuse, repressing the memory of what happened until 2011, filing suit in 2012.

The appeals court ruled the two-year statute of limitations, which was in place in the 90s’, should not begin until the victim remembers the circumstances of the abuse.  The 2-years previously would have begun when the victim reached age 18.  The appeals court decision means the two-year statute of limitations did not begin until 2011.

“He cannot be charged with knowledge of something he did not remember happened,” the opinion stated. 

“If you have suppressed or repressed your memories then the statute of limitations does not begin to run until two years from the date you remember it,” Nessler said.  “It’s a very positive opinion for victims of sexual abuse and hopefully it will allow them to get the justice that they deserve and the closure they need.” 

Nessler is an attorney for the Law Offices of Federick W. Nessler & Associates, LTD.  http://www.nesslerlaw.com/blog/an-appellate-court-victory-for-a-victim-of-sexual-abuse

The Diocese of Peoria did not respond to a WAND News request for comment.  If the diocese does not appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court the case will be sent back to Peoria County for trial.  Monsignor Goodman died in 2013.