Catholic dioceses of Illinois put in writing how it deals with sex abuse allegations

25 News Now [Peoria, IL]

May 19, 2023

By Howard Packowitz

All six of the dioceses of the Catholic Church in Illinois have released a public statement detailing what the church does when allegations are made involving sexual abuse against minors.

The seven-page news release from dioceses in Peoria, Springfield, Rockford, Chicago, Joliet and Belleville breaks down the procedures to protect children.

“By issuing this joint public statement, the Illinois dioceses hope to enhance the public’s understanding of how they handle allegations of sexual abuse involving minors,” the dioceses said.

The entire statement can be found on the Catholic Diocese of Peoria’s website.

The church developed these policies after decades of allegations in criminal and civil court that priests were molesting minors.

The state’s dioceses say they’ve been working with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office to “improve the transparency and effectiveness” of the policies.

“Prompted by the Attorney General’s investigation, the dioceses have critically reviewed current policies and implemented certain recommended changes to their existing reporting to the public to further increase transparency,” the statement said.

“As always, the safety and protection of children, and the fair and compassionate treatment of those who report abuse, will remain paramount factors in our actions,” the dioceses said.

“The bishops of the Illinois dioceses stand ready to collaborate with all agencies and organizations in Illinois that care for and educate children in establishing effective policies and practices for child safety, confident we can learn from each other,” the statement went on to say.

The Illinois Catholic dioceses say they serve 3.4 million Catholics, comprising approximately 27% of the state’s total population.

“All dioceses act immediately upon receipt of an allegation of sexual abuse of minors,” the dioceses said.