A preliminary report by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan found that the Catholic Church failed to publicize the names of more than 500 priests who’d been accused of sexually abusing minors.
The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Madigan wrote in her findings that the state’s Catholic diocese are not fit to investigate themselves and “will not resolve the clergy sexual abuse crisis on their own.” According to the report, only 185 of a total 690 priests accused of abuse were reported by the church as having credible claims lodged against them. The Chicago Tribute reports that some of these allegations go back decades.
The report also states that 75 percent of the total abuse claims were either not investigated by the diocese, or were investigated but not substantiated. One apparent method by which claims were not substantiated was allegations brought forth by a single victim were not advanced. Furthermore, diocese delegitimized claims by “focusing on the survivors’ personal lives.” Again, these are minors we are talking about.
Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, said in a statement, “I want to express again the profound regret of the whole church for our failures to address the scourge of clerical sexual abuse. It is the courage of victim-survivors that has shed purifying light on this dark chapter in church history.”
Madigan says she intends to bring her findings before the American bishops gathering at Mundelein Seminary in January, where some 300 bishops will spend a week in spiritual retreat.
“The priority has always been in protecting priests and protecting church assets,” said Madigan. In her report, Madigan writes, “Long after legal remedies have expired, the Catholic Church has the ability and moral responsibility to survivors to offer support and services, and to take swift action to remove abusive clergy.”