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Priest On Leave While Joliet Diocese Looks Into Sexual Abuse

JOLIET (CBS) -- The Diocese of Joliet says it is likely that a priest in the diocese engaged in the sexual abuse of a minor more than two decades ago.

While the diocese looks further into the allegation, the priest has been placed on administrative leave.

The Diocese of Joliet said in a statement that it recently received an allegation of Rev. James Nowak sexually abusing a minor more than 25 years ago.

An investigation was initiated by The Office of Child and Youth Protection and then evaluated by the Diocesan Review Committee, according to the statement.

Bishop R. Daniel Conlon has determined that abuse has likely occurred, the statement said. In accordance with Church law Bishop Conlon will forward this case to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome for canonical review.

Nowak has been placed on temporary administrative leave, during which time he will not be permitted to celebrate a public Mass, or to administer other sacraments, the statement said.

According to Diocesan policy, parishioners where Father Nowak was assigned are being notified of this allegation through their local parish.

The Diocese of Joliet has asked that anyone with relevant information contact law enforcement authorities and the Diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator, Judith Speckman, at (815) 263-6467.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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