Ill. diocese will appeal priest-abuse judgment

Wednesday, November 26, 2008 | 5:13 p.m. CST

MOUNT VERNON, Ill. — Attorneys for a Roman Catholic diocese in southwestern Illinois have filed notice that they will appeal a jury award of $5 million to a former altar boy who was sexually abused by a priest.

Mike Weilmuenster is an attorney for James Wisniewski, the former altar boy. He says attorneys for the Diocese of Belleville filed a notice of appeal Wednesday with the 5th District Appellate Court in Mount Vernon.

A message left for an attorney for the diocese wasn’t immediately returned.

In August, a jury awarded Wisniewski $5 million in damages in his 2002 lawsuit alleging that the Rev. Raymond Kownacki sexually abused him in the 1970s and that the diocese hid the abuse.

Kownacki hasn’t been charged criminally and wasn’t named in the lawsuit. He has an unlisted phone number.

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