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Joliet priest says diocese failed to follow protocol to protect children

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Standing before parishioners in his historic Joliet church, the Rev. Peter Jankowski said years of internal conflict had brought him to this difficult moment. In an emotional homily, the parish priest publicly blew the whistle on his diocese for alleged past failures that he said put children at potential risk.

Jankowski delivered the homily three times two Sundays ago, including once in Spanish for his multicultural congregation. Before he left the pulpit, he asked members at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church to pray for him as he embarks on a public crusade — including a direct appeal to Pope Francis.

His homily did not cite any specific examples of abuse. Rather, in church documents later obtained by the Tribune, Jankowski for years has complained that his retired predecessor showed lax enforcement 10 years ago of the U.S. bishops’ 2002 charter regarding child sexual abuse. In a September letter to the pope, Jankowski said that his superiors, including Joliet Bishop R. Daniel Conlon, failed to act upon his repeated complaints over the years to ask the retired priest to stop interfering in his ministry.

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