The trove of about 6,000 pages was released by lawyers representing adults now suing the diocese alleging they were abused by priests when they were young. The suit names 30 priests who allegedly molested children, though none were ever formally charged and the diocese, though aware of the allegations, never referred the cases to police, the Chicago Tribune reported Monday.
Instead, the documents show, diocesan leaders shuffled priests between parishes and in some cases even promoted them rather than deal with the alleged abuse head-on.
Of the cases noted in the lawsuit, most happened in the 1970s and '80s, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. The most recent allegation dates to 1996. Of the 30 priests named, 14 have since died. The remainder are no longer in the ministry, the newspaper said.
The allegations took place under the leadership of three former cardinals, John Cody, Joseph Bernardin and Francis George. Correspondence between the three men and colleagues at the time show indifference and the failure to fully investigate claims made against priests. In one instance, rather than report alleged abuse, George appointed an alleged priest abuser a "monitor" -- a fellow priest with whom the accused vacationed in Mexico, who was tasked with ensuring no more sexual misconduct took place.