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.
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.
The report says Illinois dioceses “have lost sight of both a key tenet” of policies laid out by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops as well as “the most obvious human need as a result of these abhorrent acts of abuse: the healing and reconciliation of survivors.”
“Long after legal remedies have expired, the Catholic Church has the ability and moral responsibility to survivors to offer support and services, and to take swift action to remove abusive clergy,” the report states.