'Disgusted' by Abusive Priests Files
By Dermot Connolly
Desplaines Valley News
February 5, 2014
The Jan. 21 release by the Chicago Archdiocese of
6,000 pages of documents relating to sexual abuse by priests
dating back decades, reminded some area residents of the local
connections to the scandal that continues to have repercussions.
Members of Survivors Network of those Abused by
Priests maintain that the information does not go far enough,
and point out that the documents were released to plaintiffs’
lawyers to comply with a settlement agreement, rather than
The documents include information about 30 of at least
65 priests for whom the archdiocese has substantiated claims of
Those not included belong to religious orders, and
church officials said members of religious orders, unlike
diocesan priests, are not under the control of Cardinal Francis
Few people contacted wanted to comment by name, but
words such as “disgusting,” “disgraceful” and “sinful” were used
to describe the scandal, which was uncovered on a national and
international scale in the 1990s.
Archdiocesan officials have noted that “95 percent” of
the abuse documented over the past 50 years in the released
files took place before 1988, and none occurred after 1996.
Fourteen of the names priests have since died, and none are
active in the church anymore. All the cases were ultimately
reported to authorities.
However, as SNAP members and others have pointed out,
the documents do show how church officials dating back to
Among the priests named who served locally is the Rev.
Norbert Maday, who served at St. Louis de Montfort Church in Oak
Lawn and then St. Bede the Venerable Church in Chicago’s
Scottsdale neighborhood. He later was assigned to Our Lady of
the Ridge in Chicago Ridge.
In 1994, Maday was found guilty of molesting two boys
at a religious retreat in 1986. And two men testified about
being abused by him while he was at St. Bede’s. He was sentenced
to 20 years in prison in Wisconsin, and has since been released
under court supervision and wears an ankle monitor.
Among the documents released are letters from Cardinal
George to Maday, informing him that he would not be defrocked.
“You have suffered enough by your present deprivation
of ministry and your incarceration,” George wrote.
Another letter from George to Maday in 2002 states
that the archdiocese had tried, unsuccessfully, for a reduction
Maday has since been defrocked and George apologized
to victims and Catholics for past mistakes in the handling of
George recently released a statement, saying he knows
he “made some decisions decades ago that are now difficult to
justify” and that society has evolved in how it deals with
abuse. George said that while the detail in the documents is
“upsetting” and “painful to read,” it is “not the Church we know
or the Church we want to be.”
According to church documents, a settlement was also
reached in 2005 with someone who accused the late Rev. Jeremiah
Duggan of abuse during his tenure at Queen of Martyrs Church in
Chicago’s Mt. Greenwood neighborhood from 1955 to 1966. He later
served as pastor at St. Bede’s, and was very popular with
“It is terribly sad and devastating for some people,
but I’m glad it is all out there,” said one woman who grew up in
St. Bede Parish, and worked in the rectory during the time Maday
was associate pastor between 1977 and 1983.
“Nobody can or wants to believe it,” she said,
speaking of the case against Duggan.
Another priest named in the documents is the late Rev.
Richard Skriba, who served as pastor at Queen of the Universe
Church in the 1980s. An abuse claim against him was made by a
woman in 2004, the same year that he died.
Substantiated claims of abuse were also made against
his brother, Raymond Skriba, also a priest. He was released from
public ministry in 2002, and died just recently.
The records also do not include the files of West Lawn
native Daniel McCormack, a former priest who pleaded guilty in
2007 to abusing five children while serving at St. Agatha
He was defrocked the same year, and all the lawsuits
against him have not been settled.
Marc Pearlman, one of two attorneys acting for victims
of abuse by Catholic priests, said at a press conference that
the documents reveal the leadership at the archdiocese of
Chicago was involved in the “systematic cover-up” of abuse.
“I agree that this is a sinful thing and wrong, and
the perpetrators should be punished. But there should be
forgiveness on all sides,” said a resident of Chicago’s
Marquette Manor neighborhood. “People are still going to go to
church and pray, and the church will continue.”
“Painful though publicly reviewing the past can be, it
is part of the accountability and transparency to which the
Archdiocese is committed,” George said in a recent letter to
local Catholics. He said that for more than 20 years, the
Archdiocese has reported all allegations of sexual abuse to “the
civil authorities:” and the Department of Children and Family