IL--Notorious Joliet predator priest dies; SNAP responds

For immediate release: Thursday, May 7

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, [email protected])

A notorious Joliet predator priest, whose case shows continuing recklessness by Catholic bishops about kids’ safety, has passed away.

Repeated child sex abuse allegations in two states, deemed credible by law enforcement and church officials, were made over the years against Fr. Carroll Howlin. And repeated settlements were paid to his victims.


Still, for years, Joliet Bishop Daniel Conlon and his predecessors let Howlin live and work unsupervised in a remote, poverty-stricken part of eastern Kentucky where he reportedly used his influence with a social service agency to use food and gifts to manipulate desperate youngsters into sex acts.


Just yesterday, we urged the newly-installed bishop of Lexington to warn his flock about Howlin. Now, we urge him, and Conlon, to use their vast resources to seek out and help others who were sexually assaulted by this shrewd predator.


From 1977-2002, Howlin was pastor of Good Shepherd Chapel (513 489 8815, 513 489 0200, 606 376 8728) in Whitley City, about two hours south of Lexington (but still in the Lexington diocese). He is listed as a “credibly accused” predator priest on the Joliet Diocese website:


We urge these bishops to act courageous and compassionately, in Joliet and in eastern Kentucky, to follow Jesus’ admonition to leave the 99 and go out into the cold and dark to find and help the lost, wounded sheep who are still suffering because of the crimes of Fr. Howlin.


NOTE - Photos of Fr. Howlin are available at


The attorney whose case brought records about Fr. Howlin into the public eye is Terry Johnson of Chicago (312 922 4022, [email protected]).


(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is

Showing 2 comments

  • Michael Hemkendreis
    commented 2021-07-22 08:42:33 -0500
    I was a seminarian for the Diocese of Joliet in the 1970’s. I was Father Howlin’s life-long friend. I knew the two schoolmates who accused him. I do not believe Father Howlin abused anyone. Of course, neither myself or anyone can really know if abuse occurred. What I do know is that one of his accusers claimed that Father Howlin abused him during a class trip to Kentucky in 1975. I was on that trip; his accuser was not. Michael Hemkendreis
  • Kate Bochte
    commented 2015-05-11 07:50:27 -0500
    Yet another serial-raping Catholic priest dies without ever having to spend a day in jail. Yes, something is gravely wrong with our criminal justice system. But, despite that, Howlin’s case is a clear example of Church officials continuing to knowingly endanger children – in 2015!

    Thank you to David Rudofski for forcing the Joliet Diocese to finally release their file on Howlin. One would think moral individuals who truly cared about protecting children from harm would have done that on their own.

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant