For the most part, the cases discussed today are decades old and it is important to note that no priest with even one credible allegation of abuse is in active ministry. Five of the 11 priests discussed today are deceased.
Francis Cardinal George, OMI, Archbishop of Chicago stated, “For many years, despite the sins and crimes of some clergy, the Archdiocese of Chicago has tried to be an instrument of God’s mercy for those who have been sexually abused. This is the vision of the church that Pope Francis had recently brought to the fore.” No money from parish collections, parish savings or the To Teach Who Christ Is campaign, is being used to fund these settlements.
It has long been the practice of the Archdiocese to reach out to victims regardless of when the abuse occurred and attempt to resolve their claims without the stress of an extended legal process. We remain committed to resolving sexual abuse cases in a way that results in a prompt and fair settlement for the victims and their families.
The names of priests who were credibly accused of abuse have been on the Archdiocese website for years. We have cooperated with attorneys representing victims to release documents in January on 30 priests and are working to update our website with more complete information on approximately 30 others. The release of this information requires a careful process to ensure the privacy of victims and other innocent individuals. It is our hope that this and other actions will encourage victims of abuse to come forward to receive help and healing.
The Archdiocese of Chicago is concerned first and foremost with the healing of abuse victims and 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 the prevention of 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.
The abuse of any child is a crime and a sin. The Archdiocese takes all allegations of sexual misconduct seriously and reports them to civil authorities. It encourages anyone who believes they have 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 web site at www.archchicago.org.
The following statement has been posted on the Archdiocesan website, www.archchicago.org.