Rampant Sexual Abuse In Catholic Church Uncovered In Illinois

A 696-page report revealing widespread sexual abuse on the part of Roman Catholic clergy in the state — abuse it says went under-reported and, in some cases, tolerated has been released by the attorney general of Illinois in the midwestern United States. 

1,997 child survivors from the 1950s to 2019 were counted throughout seven decades in the report. One of the conclusions was that 451 religious brothers and clerics had evidence supporting allegations of sexual abuse against them.

The study, which includes the names of the alleged abusers and the dates on which they are said to have harmed children, states that there are about 149 more child sex abusers than were previously acknowledged by the six Catholic dioceses that operate throughout Illinois.

‘These perpetrators may never be held accountable in a court of law, but by naming them here, the intention is to provide a public accounting and a measure of healing to survivors who have long suffered in silence,’ Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said in a press release obtained by Africa Today News, New York.

Raoul picked up the investigation after his predecessor Lisa Madigan decided not to seek reelection in 2018. Madigan had launched a probe that year after accusing the Catholic Church of undercounting the number of child sex abusers among its staff.

In the wake of a blockbuster 2018 grand jury investigation into the Catholic Church in the state of Pennsylvania, the Illinois dioceses initially disclosed 103 alleged abusers on its website.

Read Also: 39 Catholic Clerics Killed, 30 Abducted In 2022 – Report

Tuesday’s report said that number went up by 81 within months of the Illinois attorney general’s office launching its investigation.

Africa Today News, New York gathered that approximately 100,000 pages of diocesan documents were analysed as part of the probe, and the attorney general’s office fielded more than 600 victim complaints.

‘The survivor narratives demonstrate a troubling pattern of the church failing to support survivors, ignoring or covering up reports of abuse, and survivors being re-victimized by the church when they came forward to report being abused,’ the office said in a statement.

In one instance, a survivor recalled how a priest allegedly offered him cookies before starting to fondle him in the rectory kitchen. That kind of abuse happened multiple times afterwards, the survivor said in the report.

As an adult, the survivor said he testified to church leadership about what happened, naming the priest, but he would later discover that his claims were not investigated. The priest had died, the report explained, and the church sought to protect the man’s ‘good name and reputation’.

Tuesday’s report is the latest black eye for the Catholic Church in the US, which has faced a series of scandals related to alleged sexual abuse and cover-ups, resulting in billions of dollars worth of legal settlements.

Africa Today News, New York

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