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Zawadzka v. Catholic Bishop of Chicago

January 22, 2003

LUCYNA ZAWADZKA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
THE CATHOLIC BISHOP OF CHICAGO, A CORPORATION, INDIVIDUALLY AND D/B/A FIVE HOLY MARTYRS CATHOLIC CHURCH, THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH, INDIVIDUALLY AND D/B/A FIVE HOLY MARTYRS CATHOLIC CHURCH, AND WALTER STRUS, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS AGENT AND/OR EMPLOYEE OF THE CATHOLIC BISHOP OF CHICAGO, THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH AND/OR FIVE HOLY MARTYRS CATHOLIC CHURCH, DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. The Honorable Philip L. Bronstein, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Wolfson

On October 9, 2001, Lucyna Zawadzka filed a sexual misconduct lawsuit against Father Walter Strus, The Catholic Bishop of Chicago, and Five Holy Martyrs Catholic Church, among others. Part of her claims against The Catholic Bishop and Five Holy Martyrs was based on the doctrine of respondeat superior.

On April 26, 2002, the trial court dismissed with prejudice all counts against The Catholic Bishop and Five Holy Martyrs that were based on the doctrine of respondeat superior. On May 2, 2002, Zawadzka filed an amended complaint that contained no respondeat superior claims against The Catholic Bishop or Five Holy Martyrs. No mention was made in the amended complaint of the dismissed claims or an intent to appeal. On May 23, 2002, Zawadzka filed a notice of appeal.

On appeal, Zawadzka contends the trial court erred in dismissing the claims based on respondeat superior. We do not reach the merits of her appeal because Zawadzka waived our review of this issue. *fn1

BACKGROUND

According to Zawadzka's original complaint filed on October 9, 2001, The Catholic Bishop owned and operated a Catholic parish commonly known as Five Holy Martyrs. The Catholic Bishop also employed Father Walter Strus as the parish priest assigned to Five Holy Martyrs.

Sometime before October 15, 1999, Father Strus convinced Zawadzka to move from her family home in Poland to the United States. He promised to sponsor her and assist her in finding housing and employment and obtaining permanent residence in the United States. Father Strus arranged for Zawadzka's housing and employment upon her arrival.

When Zawadzka arrived in the United States, she became a member of Five Holy Martyrs. She had contact with Father Strus as a parishioner of Five Holy Martyrs. She would seek his advice and counsel regarding problems or concerns. Father Strus was aware he was Zawadzka's only contact in the United States.

On October 15, 1999, Father Strus visited Zawadzka at her home and forced unwanted sexual intercourse on Zawadzka. Zawadzka became pregnant. When she told Father Strus about the pregnancy, he said he would arrange for an adoption through Catholic Charities. He told her to keep the pregnancy secret for as long as possible, and keep secret that he was the father of the child. Father Strus threatened to have Zawadzka deported if she refused to cooperate.

When her pregnancy became apparent, Zawadzka was unable to continue her employment. Father Strus then provided Zawadzka with living arrangements and payments for living expenses.

Zawadzka provided false information regarding the father of the child to Catholic Charities at Father Strus' demand. Father Strus provided the signature of the "father" on the adoption application.

In July 2000, when the child was born, Zawadzka decided not to go through with the adoption. Around October 2000, she sought assistance from the archdiocese and informed it of her position and Father Strus' role.

When Father Strus was confronted by his superiors about the allegations, he denied paternity and suggested Zawadzka was romantically involved with another priest at Five Holy Martyrs.

In late October 2000, Father Strus submitted to DNA testing. The results confirmed that Father Strus ...


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