Illinois AG Exposes 500 More Catholic Priests Accused of Child Sex Abuse
Illinois failed to release the names of alleged pedophile 500 clergy
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has issued a bombshell report claiming the dioceses in Illinois failed to release the names of 500 clergy accused of sexually abusing children over ten years.
According to the preliminary report, the church's six archdioceses did an extremely 'poor job' of investigating the allegations, and in some instances, failed to examine them at all or report it to state's child welfare agency.
Madigan's office stated that dioceses have already revealed 45 more names of credibly accused pedophile priests, but the total number of names disclosed is just 185, highlighting the Catholic church's questionable response to the child abuse crisis.
"By choosing not to thoroughly investigate allegations, the Catholic Church has failed in its moral obligation to provide survivors, parishioners, and the public a complete and accurate accounting of all sexually inappropriate behavior involving priests in Illinois," Madigan said in a statement.
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"The failure to investigate also means that the Catholic Church has never made an effort to determine whether the conduct of the accused priests was ignored or covered up by superiors."
Key details such as how allegations were made are not included in the report.
The report also fails to accuse dioceses of withholding the names of 'credibly' accused clergy, only that name of implicated clergy is far longer than has been disclosed to the public.
The allegations date back decades, also including priests that are deceased, according to a Madigan spokeswoman.
New blow to the Church's credibility
The Catholic church is under immense pressure amid mounting accusations of negligence for reporting child abuse.
Back in August, a Pennsylvania grand jury report claimed that hundreds of pedophile priests abused sexually abused at least 1,000 children over seven decades in that state
The news of the report provoked Pope Francis to call U.S. bishops to withdraw to a suburban Chicago seminary next month to debate how to respond.
Chicago leader of Survivors Network of those Abused by pedophile Priests, Larry Antonsen, said that Madigan is doing the correct thing and need to continue.
He stated Illinois should assemble a grand jury with subpoena power, as in Pennsylvania.
"There's more that needs to be done. The Catholic Church does not do a good job of policing itself, and you can't expect them to do that," Antonsen said.
"It's hard to know what to believe because so much of what they're doing is in secret and not out in the open, but this is a step in the right direction."
A top attorney who has represented victims of pedophile priest called for more names to be made public.
"The Illinois Bishops must release these names immediately so that survivors can heal and no other kids are harmed," said Minneapolis-based Jeff Anderson.
Madigan's office claimed that problems were outside 'lack of effort,' and in some cases, efforts were made to work against the accusers.
"When the Illinois Dioceses investigated an allegation, they frequently found reasons not to deem an allegation "credible" or "substantiated," according to the report.
Madigan's office didn't just find a 'pattern' of dioceses failing to verify allegations that came from one person, but 'The dioceses also often found reasons to discredit survivors' stories of abuse by focusing on the survivors' personal lives.'
Chicago's archbishop, Cardinal Blase J. Cupich said in a statement that although he regretted 'our failures to address the scourge of clerical sexual abuse, 'the archdiocese has been at the forefront of dealing with the issue, including a policy since 2002 of reporting 'all allegations of child sexual abuse to civil authorities.'
Last week, Cardinal George Pell, the Catholic Church's third highest-ranking clergy member, was found guilty of sexually abusing two young boys by an Australian court.
Cardinal Pell was unanimously convicted of child sex abuse by an Australian jury on Tuesday, during the final verdict of the historic trial which began in the Summer of 2017.
The 77-year-old Vatican treasurer is the most senior Catholic to be charged with sexual offenses, in the case involving the sexual abuse of two choir boys in Austraila while serving as Archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s.