Nearly 2,000 children sexually abused by Catholic leaders in Illinois
A multi-year survey of child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy in Illinois found that at least 1,997 children statewide had been sexually abused.
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul released a detailed report on Tuesday detailing decades of child sexual abuse by members of Catholic dioceses in Illinois, which includes Belleville, Chicago, Joliet, Peoria, Rockford and Springfield.
The nearly 700-page report features detailed accounts of child sexual abuse by Catholic clerics.
More:Names of priests added to Catholic Diocese of Rockford sex abuse list
Many stories were written in consultation with survivors, are based on their experiences, and are told from the survivor’s perspective.
“I was raised and confirmed in the Catholic Church and sent my children to Catholic schools. I believe the church is doing important work to support vulnerable populations; however, as with any reputable reputable institution, the Catholic Church must be held accountable when it betrays the public trust,” Raoul said.
Although the report officially concludes the investigation opened by the attorney general’s office in 2018, it contains 50 pages of recommendations from the office to dioceses for handling future allegations of child sexual abuse.
Prior to Raoul’s investigation, Catholic dioceses in Illinois publicly listed only 103 known child sex offenders. By comparison, Raoul’s report reveals the names and detailed information of 451 Catholic clerics and religious brothers who abused at least 1,997 children across all dioceses in Illinois.
Of the 451 religious in the report, 330 died, according to Raoul.
The Archdiocese of Chicago and the dioceses of Belleville, Joliet, Peoria, Rockford and Springfield issued a joint statement regarding the findings.
“The Catholic Church in Illinois has been at the forefront of the fight against child sexual abuse for many years,” said Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago and Metropolitan of the Province of Chicago. .
“At that time, in conjunction with the Illinois Attorney General’s office, leaders from the six dioceses in Illinois worked to clarify and update our approach, taking into account our lived experience and the best Our common goals are to ensure that we offer pastoral support to those affected by this tragedy and to work diligently to prevent it from happening again.
Illinois dioceses have stated for years that their procedures include, among other things:
- The diocesan site publishes the names of its clerics presumably accused of sexual abuse of minors.
- Policies for dealing with allegations of sexual abuse of minors against incardinated clerics in their dioceses.
- Diocesan policies for handling such allegations against deceased priests, lay and religious.
- Process for dealing with allegations that arise during criminal investigations or civil proceedings.
The Catholic dioceses in Illinois serve 3.4 million Catholics, or approximately 27% of the state’s total population, through more than 900 parishes.