Decades-old clerical abuse documents made public

By Catholic New World
Sunday, February 9, 2014

The documents concerning 30 archdiocesan priests who have been accused of abusing minors at various times during the last half century were made public on Jan. 21 by Jeffrey Anderson, a lawyer representing several of the abuse survivors. All of the documents relate to cases that date back many years, in some cases, decades. Ninety-five percent of the misconduct occurred prior to 1988. Today no priest with even one substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor serves in ministry in the Archdiocese of Chicago.

“As a priest, I am horrified by the abuse that has occurred. The stories of the victims haunt me,” said Bishop Francis Kane, auxiliary bishop of Chicago and vicar general. “Child abuse is a crime and a sin. I speak for the 800 priests of the archdiocese who are embarrassed and outraged by what has occurred.”

In a public statement, the archdiocese acknowledged “its leaders made some decisions decades ago that are now difficult to justify. They made those decisions in accordance with the prevailing knowledge at the time … 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.” 

Almost all of the 30 priests included in the document release have been listed on the archdiocese’s website for many years. The only priests from the list of 30 not listed on the site were those accused after their deaths and therefore were not a threat to children and were unable to respond to the accusation.

“The archdiocese is committed to transparency in our communications with the communities we serve,” added Bishop Kane. “We released the documents pertaining to the 30 priests and we are working through a process to make more documents available regarding other priests who have been accused of sexual misconduct.”

The Archdiocese of Chicago is in full compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, adopted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in June 2002. All reports of sexual abuse are reported immediately to civil authorities. The archdiocese’s independent Review Board examines the findings of investigations and makes recommendations to the archbishop regarding fitness for ministry and safety of children.

The Archdiocese of Chicago has maintained a victim assistance ministry for more than 25 years. In addition, the Archdiocesan Office for the Protection of Children and Youth, charged with assisting victims and their families and preventing abuse, has trained and processed background checks on more than 160,000 priests, deacons, religious, lay employees and volunteers; conducted more than 3,000 training sessions; and trained more than 200,000 children to protect themselves from sexual predators. For more information about the Office for the Protection of Children and Youth, please visit

The archdiocese encourages anyone who has been sexually abused by a priest, deacon, religious or lay employee, to come forward. Complete information about reporting sexual abuse can be found on the archdiocesan website at


  • clerical sexual abuse of minors
  • child abuse prevention
  • charter for the protection of children and young people

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