Providence Releases Statement Following $2-Million Settlement With Former Student

Providence Catholic High School in New Lenox has issued a statement following the $2-million settlement of a student from the 1990’s accusing Rev. Richard McGrath of rape. WJOL reached out to Providence as to what actions are being taken to secure the safety of students and below is their response.

Providence Catholic High School, along with the Augustinians, have entered into a settlement with the former student, ending the litigation.
Our prayers go out to all involved in this matter. We look forward with renewed dedication to our mission to worship, celebrate, learn, and share our faith in Christ as the source of our love,
compassion, and strength.

To the question, “What actions has Providence taken to secure the safety of students going forward?”

I think the most effective actions taken to protect children have occurred in the areas of identifying, screening, selecting and educating/training of candidates for the priesthood and religious life. As a school that operates within the Diocese of Joliet, Providence Catholic High School follows diocesan safe environment compliance requirements.

1. All current employees have undergone a criminal background check.

2. All new employees must undergo a criminal background check. In addition, with the passage of Faith’s Law, we must contact any
previous school of any potential new hire at Providence (as of July 1, 2023).

3. All staff members (including Augustinians) are required to be compliant with diocesan safe environment requirements, which include participating in educational programs which include:
a. Information about sexual abuse and its identifying signs
b. Controlling access to children and vulnerable adults
c. Establishing and maintaining appropriate boundaries in
d. Reporting incidents of abuse and the effects of abuse on victims
e. Complying with the diocesan Standards of Behavior for Those
Working with Minors and Vulnerable Adults
f. Submitting to a criminal background check.

The Diocese of Joliet’s Office of Child and Youth Protection monitors compliance with these policies.

4. The Augustinians are accredited by Praesidium, Inc. Praesidium is a risk-management corporation that helps organizations establish programs and protocols that prevent the sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults. To that end, we participate in a separate Virtus Protecting God’s Children program specifically for religious orders. All Augustinians must be compliant with continuing education very similar to that described above.

5. The Counseling Department makes a presentation to the newly-hired staff each year. Their presentation includes information on Mandated Reporters in the State of Illinois as well as identifying signs of abuse. The Counseling Department officially reminds the veteran staff of their responsibility on an annual basis.

6. All coaches and volunteers in the athletic program must be compliant with the Diocese of Joliet’s Safe Environment protocols.

7. The Counseling Department visits the freshman Theology classes each year to explain how to respond to and to report any type of abuse. Counseling also introduces the freshmen to their particular counselor as well as the on-staff Social Worker.

8. The Counseling Department and the Theology Department make presentations to students throughout the year related to wellness and mental health.


–original story below–

Just before a sexual abuse trial for the former president of Providence Catholic High School in New Lenox was set to begin, a settlement was reached according to the Chicago Sun-Times.  Robert Krankovich had accused Rev. Richard McGrath of rape when he was a student in the 1990s. Last week, the civil case was settled for $2-million.

McGrath’s religious order is the Augustinians and the order and school are under the purview of the Diocese of Joliet.

Church officials did not admit to any wrong doing in settling the civil case.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that earlier this year, McGrath was under oath and questioned about the lawsuit that accuses him of raping Krankvich. McGrath said he never engages in “any unlawful, immoral or sexually improper conduct with any student.”

McGrath was the president and principal of Providence Catholic for 32-years, but suddenly resigned in late 2017 after a student reported seeing a disturbing image on Fr. McGrath’s cell phone. New Lenox Police subsequently launched an investigation, for which Fr. McGrath did not cooperate and did not turn over the cell phone which was property of the school.

Meanwhile, when McGrath was deposed for the lawsuit, “he asserted his Fifth Amendment right not to answer questions when asked whether he had been looking at child pornography on his phone and whether he destroyed that phone.”