Keep the pressure on: Civil authorities must vigilantly investigate church sex scandal

Watertown Daily Times

December 28, 2018

Information released last week by the attorney general of Illinois should guide officials in other states, including New York, as they investigate the sexual abuse scandal within the Roman Catholic Church.

“A scathing report from Attorney General Lisa Madigan finds the number of Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse against children in Illinois is much higher than previously acknowledged. The report said accusations have been leveled against 690 priests while Catholic officials have publicly identified only 185 clergy with credible allegations against them,” according to a story published Dec. 20 by the Chicago Tribune. “The determination is part of a preliminary report made public Wednesday by Madigan’s office, which has been investigating Catholic clergy sexual abuse of minors following revelations during the summer of widespread abuse and cover-ups by Catholic officials in Pennsylvania. The report was critical of the six Catholic dioceses that govern parishes across Illinois for their lack of transparency and flawed investigations. Although the report says that ‘Clergy sexual abuse of minors in Illinois is significantly more extensive than the Illinois dioceses previously reported,’ it does not estimate how many of the allegations against the 690 clergy should have been deemed credible. Some of the allegations go back decades.”

A report released in August revealed numerous incidents of abuse by more than 300 priests in Pennsylvania. The report, issued by a grand jury, covers six dioceses — which represent 54 of the state’s 67 counties. Pennsylvania’s other two dioceses were previously investigated by other grand juries.

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