What makes an allegation of sexual abuse against a priest credible is the heart of the disagreement between the Chicago Archdiocese and victims’ advocates.
Victims’ attorney Jeff Anderson and officials with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a victims’ advocacy group, have called on newly installed Archbishop Blase Cupich to release files on all priests who’ve ever been accused of sexual abuse — whether archdiocese officials have deemed those allegations to be credible.
“It’s their own review board, their own standards, their own protocols and policies monitored by their own people,” Anderson said in explaining his distrust of the process.
Mike Hoffman, who was a victim of former priest Robert Mayer at a Lake Forest parish in the late 1970s, said he was pleased with the process of the review board, which determined his allegations were substantiated not long after he came forward in August 2006 after he read a newspaper article about a suit by classmates of his. The archdiocese reached a financial settlement and agreed to pay for three years of counseling sessions.
“I thought that’s pretty good for a large institution to come to that determination in 4½ months,” said Hoffman, who remains a practicing Catholic and who worked with the archdiocese to create a healing garden for victims.
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