John K. Houston (1969-2002)

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The following is the transcript of a redacted report by Detective Forseth taken on June 2, 1992. (Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are ‘as is’ in the report.)

On today’s date 6/2/92 at the direction of Vince Biskupic, the Assistant DA handling this case, he asked that I interview a John K. Houston, M/W [male/white], 7/10/69, currently residing at [redacted], Chicago, IL.

We are specifically talking about an incident that occurred back in approx. 1980 when Mr. Houston was approx. 10 years of age, he was an altar boy in the 5th grade at St. Bede’s Church located at 82 S. Costner, Chicago, IL. It was at this time that John along with his friend [redacted] became friends and became acquainted with Father Norbert Maday, as Father Maday was in charge of the altar boys.

They began their relationship in that Father Maday had an Atari game, it was relatively new at this time, and many tapes and would invite young people, mostly young males, to his room in the rectory to play with the Atari. While the children were playing the Atari game Father Maday would forcibly take these young men and wrestle with them, at which time he would give them whisker rubs against their cheek, then he would grope them, hugging them and not letting them go when they wanted to be let go. At this particular time, according to Mr. Houston to the best of his recollection, there was no sexual groping at this time.

Mr. Houston wanted to relate and clarify, as was in the Illinois report, two incidents that occurred of sexual groping by Father Maday. He is not sure which occurred first, so we will describe one incident. This is an incident that occurred where Father Maday had taken his car along with the two children, John Houston and [redacted].

He Maday would let the boys drive the car and while they sat on his lap he would grope the boys, Father Maday would take his hand, place the hand down inside the pants of the boys while they were driving, and fondle their penises. In fact, when he was doing this to [redacted], [redacted] ran off of the road and hit a snowbank. They eventually wound up in a relative’s home of Father Maday, a M/W approx. the same age as Father Maday, name unk [unknown], exact location unk, but thought to be somewhere in the Chicago suburbs, where they did spend the night. There was not only Father Maday, but [redacted], John Houston, and several other boys. At this home some alcohol was consumed by the boys because it was easily obtained and the males, Father Maday and his friend, did nothing to prevent them from drinking.

It was while [redacted] and John Houston were at this residence that John Houston was taken by Father Maday and Father Maday began a wrestling match against John’s will. Father Maday had John on the floor, was groping him sexually, grabbing his penis, John was struggling, trying to get away, and it was at this time that [redacted], John Houston’s friend, began kicking at Father Maday, and John Houston was able to escape, and the boys retreated and stayed in the basement and eluded Father Maday the rest of that night and until the next day, when they were in the presence of all the other boys they were able to leave with Maday driving, but they had the comfort of knowing that they were protected by the other boys.


B/W photo of newly ordained Norbert Maday in Roman collar
A rapist in the making. Norbert Maday.

John Houston then went on to relate that another incident occurred, it was either shortly before this or shortly after this incident, where Father Maday again took John alone, he was approx. 10 years of age, to a health club, believed to be a health club in Chicago Ridge, and it had a large pool, to the mind of a 10 year old at that time, and only John Houston and Maday were in the pool. Maday entrapped and held in a bear hug John Houston for a period of about 10-15 minutes. John states the never swam during this entire time, it was totally groping by Father Maday, groping and feeling, whisker rubs, fondling of the penis, and he did what he wanted, he being the Father, at liberty with John. John at this time was a 10 year old boy, fighting basically for his life, and the assault did not end until Father Maday was finished. They finally left the pool and went home and nothing was said.

In talking with John I asked Mr. Houston if there was any time between the time he reported this to Illinois authorities and the time he was approx. 10 or 11 years of age, when these assaults occurred, did he tell anyone else. He said the only thing he could remember was a former classmate of his, a [redacted] he does not know where he lives now, but his mother had said something to the effect that she knew that Father Maday was a molester or was perverse, the exact words are unk. He also states that he did tell his dad when he was 16 about why he had acted out 2 years after an incident with Maday, this incident being that John in front of his class in 7th grade had had a blow up with Father Maday when John Houston stood up to Father Maday and was not going to take anything from him. It was during a lunch hour, Maday had a way of coming around during lunch hour because he knew there were no teachers around, as the children would eat their lunch in the classroom, he was “trying to entertain them by telling jokes.” At this particular time Houston was not going to have anything to do with it and made the remark “Maday’s here, zipper up” and also called him “Gayday.” At this point Father Maday took John, slapped him, pushed him, beat his head on the wall loud enough to where even other classrooms were disturbed.

It was at this point that Maday took Houston to another room, no more violence took place, Maday had calmed down at this point, and asked Houston why he had called him that, meaning Gayday, to which Mr. Houston never relied.


David and Diane Houston
David Houston at the side of his mother, Diane, as she speaks to the press about her son, John in 2008.

It wasn’t until he was 16 years old that he told his dad what had occurred about the sexual assaults. His dad didn’t understand why he hadn’t told him earlier, but also dad never told the church or done any follow up with the priest.

Mr. Houston states it was common knowledge at St. Bede’s among the upper classmen and many parishioners’  parents that there was a lot of talk the Father Maday was either perverse or was taking inappropriate sexual actions with many children.

The interview ceased.


The State’s Attorneys office of Cook County began investigating Norbert Maday but dropped the case in 1992 due to “lack of evidence” and “the fact that any prosecution would be banned by the statute of limitations”.

Fortunately, authorities in Wisconsin picked up the case because the many accusations against Maday included criminal acts at a retreat facility and The Place to Be, a seedy hotel in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

In 1994, Norbert Maday was convicted of the criminal sexual assaults of two boys (a mere fraction of his criminal and obscene conduct). He was also convicted of intimidation of a witness because he threatened to kill the brother of one of his victims if the victim told anyone what he was doing to him.

Mayday was sentenced to two 10-year terms to run consecutively for the sexual assaults and one 5-year term for the intimidation conviction. In 2008, he got a black eye and a fat lip from a beating while incarcerated.

“He was beaten up but not beaten up enough for me,” said John Houston’s mother, Diane.


Diane Houston flanked by son David and Barbara Blaine.
A brave Diane Houston fields questions from reporters and appropriately calls for the resignation of Francis Cardinal George. That was in 2008. George still occupies the mansion.

I stood behind Mrs. Houston that day as she answered questions from reporters at a press conference at SNAP (Survivor’s Network of those Abused by Priests) headquarters in Chicago. It was one of the most heart-wrenching moments I have ever experienced and I will never forget it. John’s brother, David, sat at his mother’s side.

The grief we all felt wasn’t just that John and the other boys were sexually assaulted, repeatedly, by Norbert Maday. Tragically, John ended his life – his pain – in October 2002. He was 33 years old.

After Norbert Maday’s hideous assaults against John, the youngster struggled with life. Other than the comments he made in the 7th grade (“Zipper up, boys, here comes Father Gayday”), he stayed silent about the rape. Finally, when he was 16, he told his dad.

Upon adulthood, John joined the Marines. It was in the early 1990’s when he was serving in the Gulf War that the trauma that he suffered at the hands of Norbert Maday resurfaced with a vengeance.

John was discharged after having turned to alcohol and drugs to numb the pain of his memories and, likely, nightmares.  He was married briefly but was haunted by Maday’s crimes, his own childhood trauma. Two weeks before his suicide, John sat at his mother’s kitchen table and asked her if being abused by a man made him gay.

“My son didn’t just take his life,” Diane explained in 2008, “Father Maday and [Cardinal Francis] George had a part in it.”


Next Tuesday’s post will explain why George, as well as Maday, has the blood of John Houston on his hands.

John’s Obituary

PDF of interview transcribed above

The opportunity to comment on the guestbook of John’s online obituary has expired. However, if you wish share a comment with his family, please do so below and I will make sure his mom receives them. Thank you!