JOLIET, Ill. (STMW) — The Diocese of Joliet has lifted a protective order on personnel files of 15 priests as part of a settlement in a sexual abuse case announced Tuesday.

Bishop R. Daniel Conlon said the settlement involved the Rev. James Burnett and three plaintiffs.

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The settlement also included a financial payment to one plaintiff, David Rudofski.

Conlon said the lifting of the protective order has made specific pages of the personnel files of 15 priest offenders available to one of the plaintiffs in the case. The release of the files was in compliance with a court order.

The lawsuit was filed several years ago but the settlement with Rudofski has recently been reached, the diocese said.

Conlon, who became bishop 19 months ago, issued a written statement that suggested the extent of sexual abuse cases in the Joliet diocese and failings in the way they have been handled in the past.

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Since becoming bishop, Conlon said, “Unfortunately the dark cloud of the history of child abuse in this diocese has imposed itself almost every day. The abuse itself and the way it was handled in many cases have created serious harm to the lives of individuals, parish communities and the whole diocese.”

He said the diocese has updated its website list of priests against whom there have been substantiated or credible allegations of abuse.

Thirty-four priests are on that list.

Conlon said none of those priests are engaged in public ministry.

Burnett served at four parishes since he was ordained in 1968: St. Charles Borromeo, Bensenville; St. Mary, Mokena; Ss. Peter and Paul, Naperville; and St. Raymond, Joliet.

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