Report: 2,000 Children Sexually Abused by Illinois Catholic Clergy

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A report issued by the Illinois Attorney General office has uncovered hundreds more cases of child sex abuse by Catholic clergy members than was first reported by church officials.

Their nearly 5 year long investigation found that nearly 2,000 children had been abused by clergy in the state.

This was more than four times the 103 individuals that the church named when the state began its review in 2018.

In the introduction to the 696-page report Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul wrote: “Decades of Catholic leadership decisions and policies have allowed known child sex abusers to hide, often in plain sight. And because the statute of limitations has frequently expired, many survivors of child sex abuse at the hands of Catholic clerics will never see justice in a legal sense”

They may never be held accountable in court, he said, but naming them is meant to “provide a public accountability and a measure of healing to survivors who have long suffered in silence.”

In a statement released Tuesday, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests called the report “stunning” but emphasized that the numbers of victims and abusers cited by state investigators were very likely undercounted.

AP reports: Attorney General Kwame Raoul said Tuesday that state investigators found that more than 450 Catholic clergy in Illinois had sexually abused nearly 2,000 children since 1950. But Raoul and other experts say the finding is unlikely to lead to criminal charges.

That follows a familiar pattern — no rush of criminal charges followed the 2018 release of a bombshell grand jury report on clergy abuse in Pennsylvania or last month’s report on abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Advocates say they believe the report will help more people feel safe to discuss what happened to them with family, friends, support groups and law enforcement. They also say it could prompt people to file civil lawsuits, even for abuse long ago. They hope legislatures take further steps enabling prosecutors to charge older sex abuse cases and toughen standards for mandatory reporting.

Niamh Harris
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I am an alternative health practitioner interested in helping others reach their maximum potential.