The Archdiocese of Chicago released documents in November outlining internal allegations of sexual abuse by former Chicago-area priest James Vincent Flosi, along with more than 30 others. Flosi is a founder of the EdgeAlliance AIDS agency in Chicago,
Flosi, ordained in 1971 after attending St. Mary of the Lake University, has been an associate pastor at various parishes, including St. Hubert's in Hoffman Estates, St. Luke's in River Forest, St. Giles in Oak Park, and St. Gertrude's in Franklin Park.
A former seminary student alleges that while Flosi was at Holy Name Cathedral, 735 N. State St., during 1976-1985, he abused the student over the period of a couple of months, which included fondling, kissing, oral sex and intercourse. Through internal memos, handwritten notes, documents, victim statement abstracts, meeting minutes and letters between Flosi, various pastors, archbishops of Chicago and vicars for priests ( a position created to deal with child abuse crises in the church ), Flosi's alleged misconduct was clearly known, sporadically investigated and mostly brushed aside.
Outwardly, Flosi was given accolades by his peers, even those who heard rumors of him "living the gay lifestyle" and those who thought his behavior was inappropriate. The Archbishop of Chicago thanked Flosi for his good work at Holy Name in 1985 while appointing him to associate pastor at St. Luke's.
Around that same time, Flosi was interviewed about allegations of a sexual encounter, with no indication that anything further was done. When going up for the position as successor to Father James Moriarty at St. Luke's, Flosi received stellar letters of recommendation, even when one of the questions asked, "What concerns, if any, do you have regarding his pastorability?"
While steps were taken to move him around to different parishes, Flosi was given paid time off to rest, including a six-month paid sabbatical with time spent in Italy and a one-week retreat at a monastery. In 1990, St. Giles accepted him as an associate pastor, though Flosi, with hopes of a promotion, was promised reevaluation of his position over time.
Most of the letters back and forth between Flosi and higher ups in the church concern Flosi seeking reimbursement for dental expenses, him wanting more say in his reassignment options, inquiries about maintaining his salary, concerns for his health and wellbeing, and complaints that he should have risen higher in priesthood due to his seniority and "considerable talents."
When confronted with the numerous allegations against him over the yearssuch as Flosi teaching a minor how to masturbate and asking another boy to masturbate in his presenceand another brought about by a victim's mother coming forward in 1991, Flosi cited a five-year memory loss due to taking diet pills, blamed conflict with other priests, purported that one of the victims was of legal age at the time of the alleged incident, and sometimes had no response at all.
After being given a mandate to not be in the presence of minors without another adult present and being politely asked to resign from a post he allegedly took without the church's knowledgepotentially working with victims of sexual abuse on the Advisory Committee to the Christian Brothers Counseling CenterFlosi finally resigned from the priesthood of his own will in 1992 and was laicized in 2010. His resignation came with offered benefits for one year after.
Joseph Cardinal Bernardin accepted his resignation and in a personal note said, "I am really distressed at the outcome of all this, as I know you are. I truly wish that it could have been otherwise. I thank you, Jim, for all the good work you have done."
In 2006, Mother Doe 100 and minor John Doe 100, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, filed a class-action complaint against Flosi and the Archdiocese of Chicago. It stated, "the Archdioceses and Dioceses across the United States, including the Archdiocese of Chicago, have been instructed to destroy documentation of sexual misconduct by priests and or to send any of this material to the Holy See in order to claim it is immune from public discovery or disclosure." It also asked for an injunction ordering the Archdiocese to turn over any and all documentation, and to cease destruction, spoliation, concealment or misplacement of any connected documents.
The Archdiocese of Chicago's internal investigations found "reasonable cause to suspect that sexual misconduct with a minor did occur," but since Flosi "resigned from the priesthood, the Archdiocese cannot impose any sanctions upon him."
In talking with Flosi's peers from over the years, he was noted as "an obvious homosexual" and many didn't report their suspicions of misconduct because "things were not handled that way back then."
Flosi went on to found AIDSCare, an organization that assists those living with HIV/AIDS, veterans, the homeless and the disabled. AIDSCare became EdgeAlliance in 2009. Flosi no longer serves as CEO for EdgeAlliancehis time with the organization is listed from 1992-2009 on his LinkedIn profileand the organization's website just recently changed to list him as the retired founder versus an active member of the board of directors.