A Rockford man files suit against the Catholic Diocese Thursday, claiming he was sexually abused by a Rockford priest more than 30 years ago.
Donald Bondick says he repressed his memories of the rape until 2002, when, according to his lawsuit, he witnessed another disturbing act involving a former Rockford Bishop. And now Bondick says he's coming forward - in hopes he can prevent this abuse from happening again.
"He took me to the Wisconsin Dells and the first night I was brutally raped," says Bondick.
It's the memory Donald Bondick has struggled with for more than 30 years. Bondick says he was 13 years old the night he was raped in 1969. And in a suit filed Thursday, Bondick claims Father Theodore Feeley - while stationed at St. Anthony of Padua in Rockford - abused his power by sexually abusing him.
"He was a friend and a mentor and someone we looked up to."
Feeley died in 1991 and Bondick says he buried those memories a long time ago. They only recently re-surfaced - when in 2002 – according to Bondick and court documents - he witnessed former Catholic Bishop Arthur O'Neil with another man in a local health club locker room.
"Seeing that was a shock that sent me spinning into a deeper depression ..."
And besides seeing that incident, Bondick is even more frustrated because O'Neil was Bishop of the Rockford diocese back in the 60's - leading congregations at a time he says he was being abused.
"We certainly have to ask - if he is that promiscuous - whether indeed - as a person in leadership - his sexual behaviors in any way tarnished his judgment.,” says Barbara Blaine, president of SLANT or Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.
The Rockford Catholic Diocese did not have any comment. But Bondick believes it's time for the church to speak up and start answering questions.
"Why are you keeping praise on these pedophiles when you should be embracing these victims?"
Bondick says he did go to the church first with his allegation of rape, as well as with the incident with Bishop O'Neil. According to Bondick, he was told O'Neil was reprimanded. However - O'Neil is now second in command as the Vicar General of the diocese.