ILLINOIS – Illinois’ attorney general, Lisa Madigan, released the findings of her preliminary investigation into the six Catholic dioceses in the state. Findings reveal that the six dioceses failed to disclose accusations of sex abuse concerning at least 500 priests and clergy members.
“Clergy sexual abuse of minors in Illinois is significantly more extensive than the Illinois Dioceses previously reported,” the report reads. However, the report does not estimate how many of the allegations against the 690 clergy should have been deemed credible.
At a press conference, Madigan acknowledged that credible accusations are not the same as general accusations. But she was disappointed at the lack of investigations that surrounded investigations.
“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 an official statement released December 19, 2018.
In an official statement from the Archdiocese of Chicago, Cardinal Blase Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, commented on the report.
“I want to express again the profound regret of the whole church for our failures to address the scourge of clerical sexual abuse,” he said. “It is the courage of victim-survivors that has shed purifying light on this dark chapter in church history.”
The report from the attorney general’s office discussed all six dioceses. However, the Archdiocese of Chicago did comment on some of the generalized findings.
Their comments began with a recognition of the damage done to others through clerical abuse and past failure to respond. It also included resources for those who suffered at the hands of priests and clergy members.
“The Archdiocese of Chicago has been at the forefront of dealing with the issue of clergy sexual abuse for nearly three decades,” the response states.
“In 1991, Cardinal Bernardin called for a dramatic change in our culture, and in 1992 the Archdiocese of Chicago established a hotline for reporting abuse and adopted policies and procedures for the safeguarding of children, which ultimately served as the model for the Charter adopted by the U.S. Catholic bishops a decade later.”
The Archdiocese of Chicago stands ready to cooperate with all institutions and agencies that care for children and will share their experience and learning.