Activists Press Cardinal Francis George for Tougher Stance on Abuse

By Margaret Ramirez
Chicago Tribune

August 14, 2008,0,5766056.story

Responding to the extraordinary deposition on sexual abuse released by Cardinal Francis George, victims' advocates on Wednesday demanded more information on abusive priests and assurances that church secrecy would end.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago agreed on Tuesday to a $12.7 million settlement involving 16 victims and 11 priests.

With the settlement, the cardinal also released a 305-page transcript of a court deposition detailing errors, secrets and deception by church officials that kept abusive priests in Chicago churches for several years after allegations were made.

Standing in front of the archdiocese offices on Wednesday morning, David Clohessy, of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said that although the cardinal apologized, he did not assure parishioners such errors would no longer be tolerated.

Clohessy and other victims also want the archdiocese's Web site to post the photos, addresses and work histories of abusive priests, similar to the Philadelphia archdiocese.

Right now, the Chicago archdiocese only lists the priests' names, ordination dates and status. An archdiocese spokeswoman said people seeking additional information on the priests can write to the chancellor's office.

"We want him to promise he will never leave a priest in place after four allegations have been made. We want him to promise he will never try to free a convicted child molester from prison early," Clohessy said.

The deposition included details on the investigation of 11 priests, including Daniel McCormack, Joseph Bennett and Norbert Maday. The McCormack scandal triggered outrage when it was discovered that the archdiocese failed to remove him from St. Agatha Roman Catholic Church years after initial allegations of abuse were made.

In the investigation of Bennett, the deposition said the cardinal and church officials received four detailed allegations of sexual abuse dating to 2002. But they did not remove Bennett from his South Holland church until February 2006.

Regarding Norbert Maday, the deposition showed that George worked to reduce the abusive priest's 20-year prison sentence. Maday is accused of abusing 35 to 45 children and remains incarcerated in Wisconsin.

Cardinal George said he changed his view of Maday after 2002 when more allegations came forward and he began to realize the man "had seriously abused many, many innocent children."



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