Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Chicago archdiocese releases sex abuse documents

Brian Roewe
National Catholic Reporter
January 21, 2014

More than 6,000 pages detailing past allegations, reports and procedures related to clergy sexual abuse in the Chicago archdiocese became public Tuesday morning, part of a 2008 settlement between the archdiocese and alleged victims.

The documents pertain to 30 archdiocesan priests credibly accused of sexually abusing children. Of the 30, four have been removed from the priesthood and four have been criminally convicted. Only Joseph L. Fitzharris was both convicted and laicized. Fourteen of the priests are deceased. According to the archdiocese, 95 percent of the cases predate 1988.

"Today no priest with even one substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor serves in ministry in the Archdiocese of Chicago," the archdiocese said in a statement made ahead of the release.

Describing the documents as "upsetting" and "painful to read," the archdiocese apologized to victims and said the image the files portray "is not the Church we know or the Church we want to be." The pages include decisions church officials made decades ago "that are now difficult to justify" but were based upon "the prevailing knowledge at the time," noting that understanding of sexual abuse has evolved since then.

"While we complied with the reporting laws in place at the time, the Church and its leaders have acknowledged repeatedly that they wished they had done more and done it sooner, but now are working hard to regain trust, to reach out to victims and their families, and to make certain that all children and youth are protected," the statement read.


read full article at National Catholic Reporter

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