Over 500 Priests Accused of Sexual Abuse were Withheld by the Catholic Church

The report pointed out that allegations have been made against a staggering 690 clergy members.

A preliminary report released under Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s oversight stated that the Illinois branch of the Catholic Church withheld identification of over 500 priests accused of sexually abusing minors. The report was brutal and makes for painful reading, where the authors accuse the Catholic Church of failing to provide succor to victims by failing to investigate the allegations properly. The text concluded the Illinois Catholic dioceses are not capable of investigating their own. It also surmised the church will not solve the crisis of clergy sexual abuse by themselves.

The Madigan investigation combed through a total of six Illinois dioceses, Belleville, Springfield, Joliet, Rockford, and Peoria. The investigative team also took apart the records of Archdiocese of Chicago. She discovered that although the dioceses have given up 185 members of the clergy, who were found to be credible child abuse perpetrators, a great number more of clergy members, about 500 of them, were shielded and subsequently escaped investigation. The report pointed out that allegations have been made against a staggering 690 clergy members.

In her statement, Madigan thoroughly castigated the Catholic Church of Illinois. She said the Catholic Church has failed its moral obligation to offer survivors, the public, and parishioners an accurate and complete accounting of the sexually inappropriate behavior regarding priests in Illinois. She added the church’s failure to make a proper investigation means it never made any real effort to find out whether the accused priests’ conduct was covered up or ignored by higher-ups in the Vatican.

This Illinois report is not the only one of its kind. It is the latest effort made by state prosecutors to make sure the Catholic Church is accountable for its actions by going through the records of the church itself. About 16 state attorneys general have begun investigations since August. The probes began after a Pennsylvania grand jury report accused in excess of 300 priests of sexual abuse happening over 50 years. The report had accused the bishops of covering their crimes.

Out of the huge number of allegations, about three-fourths against church clergy were sparsely investigated or not probed at all. The investigations were only restricted to files the dioceses offered to the office of the attorney general. The investigators noted church authorities did not bother to check whether the accused priests were reassigned, dead or if there were multiple victims.

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