Priest accused of molesting boy after dressing him up like Jesus

A former DuPage County priest already facing sexual abuse charges molested a teenage boy after dressing him like Jesus Christ and taking his picture, an attorney for the victim said Wednesday.

The Rev. Fred Lenczycki abused the teen “on a regular and repeated basis” between 1980 and 1983, when Lenczycki was a priest at St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Church in Hinsdale, according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday in DuPage County civil court.

The eight-count lawsuit also accuses the Diocese of Joliet and Bishop Joseph L. Imesch of covering up widespread clergy abuse and creating an environment that taught parishioners that “good” Catholics didn’t report misconduct.

Ad: Vacation? City Trip? Weekend Break? Book Skip-the-line tickets

Attorneys for the victim, who is now in his 30s and lives in rural Illinois, are seeking more than $50,000 in damages per count.

In a statement, attorney Marc Pearlman said that on about a dozen occasions, Lenczycki of Glen Ellyn dressed the teen – then 14 to 17 years old – in robes to make him look like Christ. He took photos before abusing him, Pearlman stated.

The victim didn’t report the abuse at the time because he had been brought up to believe priests wouldn’t engage in criminal behavior and that he “was somehow the guilty party,” the lawsuit states.

He came forward recently after hearing other reports of clergy abuse, Pearlman said.

Lenczycki’s defense attorney could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Lenczycki, who has been suspended from his duties since April 2002, is scheduled to go to trial in DuPage County next month on charges he abused three former altar boys at the St. Isaac in 1984, when the boys were 12.

The Joliet diocese transferred Lenczycki to a church in Missouri in 1985 after the parents of one of the boys complained. Lenczycki was given counseling but the church never notified authorities.

At the time, prosecutors have said, the complaints only involved voyeuristic conduct.

John Cullen, a spokesman for the diocese, has defended the way the case was handled, saying decisions were made based on the information church leaders had at the time.

Imesch, who was installed as bishop in 1979, didn’t know the full extent of the allegations at the time they were made, Cullen has said.

Cullen could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Travel Religiously

Book skip-the-line tickets to the worlds major religious sites — or to any other place in the world.

We appreciate your support

One way in which you can support us — at no additional cost to you — is by shopping at


Our website includes affiliate links, which means we get a small commission — at no additional cost to you — for each qualifying purpose. For instance, as an Amazon Associate Religion News Blog earns from qualifying purchases. That is one reason why we can provide this service free of charge.


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog)
Daily Herald, USA
Dec. 4, 2003
Sara Burnett, Daily Herald Staff Writer

More About This Subject

Religion News Blog last updated this post on CET (Central European Time)