Illinois Attorney General says Catholic Church failed to report 500 priests accused of sexually abusing children over course of decades

Thursday, December 20, 2018
By Paul Martin

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan issued report about clergy sexual abuse
She accused Catholic dioceses in Illinois of protecting 500 alleged pedophiles
Madigan says church either failed to adequately investigate or did not report alleged abuses to authorities
Allegations date back decades and includes priests who are dead

20 December 2018

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan on Wednesday issued a blistering report about clergy sexual abuse, saying that Catholic dioceses in Illinois have not released the names of at least 500 clergy accused of sexually abusing children.

The preliminary report found that the church’s six archdioceses have done a woefully inadequate job of investigating allegations and in some cases did not investigate them at all or notify the state’s child welfare agency.

Madigan’s office said that while the dioceses have disclosed 45 more names of those credibly accused, the total number of names disclosed is only 185 and raises questions about the church’s response to the crisis.

‘By choosing not to thoroughly investigate allegations, the Catholic Church has failed in its moral obligation to provide survivors, parishioners and the public a complete and accurate accounting of all sexually inappropriate behavior involving priests in Illinois,’ Madigan said in a statement.

‘The failure to investigate also means that the Catholic Church has never made an effort to determine whether the conduct of the accused priests was ignored or covered up by superiors.’

The report does not include some key details such as when the allegations were made.

It also does not accuse the dioceses of withholding the names of ‘credibly’ accused clergy, only that the list of names of accused clergy is far longer than has been made public.

A Madigan spokeswoman said that the allegations date back decades and include some priests who are now deceased.

The Illinois disclosures are a new blow to the credibility of the church, which has struggled to contain the scandal amid mounting accusations of negligence.

In August, a Pennsylvania grand jury report alleged that hundreds of priests abused at least 1,000 children over seven decades in that state.

The report prompted Pope Francis to call U.S. bishops for a retreat at a suburban Chicago seminary next month to debate how to respond.

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