Saturday, June 3, 2023

In Illinois, between 1950 and 2010, nearly 2,000 minors were sexually abused by 450 Catholic priests

Some 2,000 Illinois children were sexually abused by Catholic priests between 1950 and 2010, according to a report released Tuesday from the state attorney general’s office, which also details how the abuse was often overlooked by church superiors. Gone and hid. Decades of affairs in the Diocese of Boston whose disclosure contributed substantially to the unfolding of this crisis in the United States.

The 696-page report released by Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul confirms abuse allegations against 451 Catholic priests in the state’s six dioceses, with at least 1,997 victims registered in Pennsylvania over the past seven decades. twice the number of victims. At the same time, one of the great cases of blacklisting of the American Church. The text publishes for the first time the names of 149 priests and religious who, according to the investigation, have been the subject of credible complaints. As Raoul explains in the report’s preface, the investigation launched in 2018 by his predecessor, Lisa Madigan, who accused the church of underreporting cases, initially identified 103 abusers in its ranks. Of the 451 mentioned in the report, 330 have died.

The Illinois revelation adds to a long list of investigations around the world, particularly in Latin America, into sexual abuse in institutions dependent on the Catholic Church such as schools, boarding schools or parishes, as well as the systematic practice of covering up predators. Transfer them to other destinations, thus spreading the threat. The Oscar-winning film Spotlight, about the Boston Globe investigation that exposed abuse in that Massachusetts diocese, tells of first the cloak of silence and then the abrupt removal of troublesome priests. “Decisions and policies by the Catholic hierarchy have allowed known child abusers to hide, often in plain sight,” Raoul said.

Abuse scandals have undermined the church’s reputation and have been a major challenge for Pope Francis, who has passed a series of measures aimed at holding the curia accountable over the past decade due to internal resistance, with mixed results. The US Church has had to pay millions of dollars to avoid lawsuits, even as seven dioceses declared bankruptcy between 2004 and 2009 to avoid payment. Just last year, the New Jersey Diocese agreed to pay $87.5 million to 300 victims, and a month later, the Santa Fe Archdiocese allocated $121 million to that end. As of 2007, churches in the US had distributed over $1.4 billion in compensation.

In Illinois, investigators combed through thousands of files, spent hours interviewing church representatives and reviewed complaints from more than 600 victims. Many cannot access justice because of prescriptions for crimes committed in some cases decades ago. The report, however, wishes to partially reparate the victims, whom it does not describe as such, but rather as “survivors”.

“These perpetrators may never be held accountable in a court of law, but by naming them here, the Attorney General asserted in the notice, a measure of public accountability and remediation for the survivors.” The text says, “Nearly all of the people interviewed by the attorney general report some episode of mental disorder as a result of the abuse.”

Among the documented cases, presented by the parish and indicative of the number of victims – mostly children, but also some girls and young women – is that of Father Francis Scube, in the Diocese of Belleville in the late 1950s or early sixties. had come His sexual interest in children was never a secret, as a March 1959 letter to the parish priest of a village warned: “Scoob will do great spiritual harm when posing as religious.” The warning didn’t stop Scube from abusing three minors.

Regarding Father Robert Mayer, the report states that the Archdiocese of Chicago received complaints for years, yet “it refused to remove him from ministry.” Another priest, Thomas Francis Kelly, abused more than 15 boys between the ages of 11 and 17 in various parishes during the 1960s and 1970s.

According to the local episcopal conference, there were approximately 3.5 million Catholics living in Illinois in 2019, representing 27% of the state’s population. Illinois’ six dioceses had approximately 950 parishes and over 2,200 priests.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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