Sex Abuse Forum Is April 23
Judge to Speak about Church Crisis; Panel of Survivors to Tell Their Story

Peoria Journal Star [Bloomington IL]
March 27, 2004

BLOOMINGTON - Justice Anne Burke, chairwoman of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops' National Review Board and an Illinois appeals judge, will be the keynote speaker at a community forum on sexual abuse in the Catholic church on April 23.

Voice of the Faithful-Peoria is sponsoring "Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church: Lessons Learned," which will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel, located at Veterans Parkway and Brickyard Lane.

Burke, who is a judge in the 1st District Appellate Court, will discuss the result of the board's recently released study of the causes of the church crisis and its recommendations.

The National Review Board was created to oversee implementation of the bishops' Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

Also held at the forum will be a panel of survivors of clergy sexual abuse who will tell their stories. Speaking throughout the day as well will be professionals from the judiciary system, criminal justice system, counseling and support systems, and the media.

The Catholic Diocese of Peoria has been invited to take part.

The event is being held during Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Month, and the problem of sexual abuse of children and young people throughout society will be addressed.

"It was the wish of the Catholic bishops that other organizations might learn from the painful experience of the Catholic church," VOTF regional coordinator John Ryan said. "This forum is designed to provide such an opportunity."

Cost is $20.

Seating will be limited. Reservations can be made by calling Vickie Willotte at Chestnut Health Systems at 827-6026, Ext. 3737, or by sending e-mail to Dennis Kirby at Name, organization, phone number and names of any others who may attend will be needed.

More information can be viewed at

The event is being co-sponsored by Chestnut Health Systems, Department of Child and Family Services-Bloomington, child abuse prevention agencies and survivor support groups.

Voice of the Faithful is a laity-led group of Catholics "seeking reforms in the church as a result of this crisis."