Illinois Catholic Diocese Didn’t Investigate 500 Priests Accused of Sexual Abuse

Rolling Stone

December 20, 2018

By Lilly Dancyger

A preliminary report from the state’s attorney general is part of a new wave of sexual-assault investigations by law enforcement into the Catholic Church

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan released a damning preliminary report Wednesday on her office’s findings that the Catholic dioceses in the state had withheld the names of over 500 priests accused of sexually abusing minors. The investigation is ongoing, though the report says “the Office has reviewed enough information to conclude that the Illinois Dioceses will not resolve the clergy sexual abuse crisis on their own.”

The report found that Illinois dioceses received reports of abuse by approximately 690 clergy, but only reported 185 as having been “credibly” accused, meaning that approximately 75 percent of all reports they received were not investigated. The dioceses often did not investigate if the accused priest was deceased or retired, or if only one victim had come forward, and often “sought to discredit a survivor’s allegations based upon the survivor’s personal life.”

“While the Illinois Dioceses have touted their ‘independent audits’ as evidence that they are adequately responding to clergy sexual abuse allegations,” the report concludes, “the audits are seemingly not designed to discover clergy abuse, but rather are perfunctory.”

“The preliminary stages of this investigation have already demonstrated that the Catholic Church cannot police itself,” Madigan said in a press release about her office’s report. “Allegations of sexual abuse of minors, even if they stem from conduct that occurred many years ago, cannot be treated as internal personnel matters.”

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