Bishop Imesch Admits to Protecting Priest Sex Abuser

Bishop Joseph Imesch of Joiliet Illinois admitted in a 2005 deposition that a sexually abusive priest had confided to him that he had sexually abused an altar boy. Imesch didn’t feel an obligation to tell authorities about the priest in spite of the fact that local authorities were investigating the priest.


The Michigan priest, Rev. Gary Berthiaume, admitted the abuse to Imesch after he was arrested but before he was convicted of molesting the boy, according to the deposition. Berthiaume was sentenced to 6 months in prison in 1978.
Years later, Imesch invited him to work at a retreat house in the Joliet diocese.
Asked in the deposition why he didn’t report Berthiaume’s admission to police, Imesch said:
“Well, I don’t think that was my responsibility. He is charged with a crime. He has to be given a trial. My going to the police doesn’t have anything to do with whether he’s guilty or not.”