Catholic Church in Illinois failed to report abuse accusations against 500 priests, AG says

By Danielle Haynes

Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Six Catholic dioceses in Illinois failed to reveal sexual abuse allegations against at least 500 clergy members, the state's attorney general said Wednesday.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced the findings as part of a preliminary investigation after a grand jury report in August accused six Pennsylvania dioceses of systematically covering up the sexual abuse of more than 1,000 children by hundreds of clergymen.


A statement from Madigan's office said the Catholic Church admitted that 185 clergy members have been accused of abuse, but they declined to reveal information about 500 others. That number stems from cases that were not "adequately" investigated or where church officials did not notify law enforcement.

The office said that even if the alleged abuse happened "many years ago," the church should not treat it as an internal matter and should have reported it to police.

"By choosing not to thoroughly investigate allegations, the Catholic Church has failed in its moral obligation to provide survivors, parishioners and the public a complete and accurate accounting of all sexually inappropriate behavior involving priests in Illinois," she added. "The failure to investigate also means that the Catholic Church has never made an effort to determine whether the conduct of the accused priests was ignored or covered up by superiors."


The announcement came on the same day Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Alexander Salazar after he was accused of misconduct with a minor while he was a parish priest in the 1990s.

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