CHICAGO (WMBD)– A summary issued by all the Catholic dioceses in Illinois was released on Thursday detailing the handling of allegations of sexual abuse against minors by Catholic clerics.
The news release admits that over its history, Catholic church personnel had sexually abused children in their care and the response by the church was inadequate.
The Catholic Church would adopt the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (the Charter) in 2002 after a media expose triggered a public scandal in Boston.
The Charter was based on policies adopted in 1992 by the dioceses in Chicago.
“The Catholic Church in Illinois has been at the forefront of dealing with sexual abuse of minors
for many years,” said Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago and Metropolitan of the Chicago Province.
“In 1992, the Archdiocese of Chicago, led by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, formulated and adopted policies for handling allegations of sexual abuse of minors by clergy including, for the first time, a lay review board. Cardinal Bernardin presented the Chicago policies to the USCCB meeting in 1993. These policies formed the basis of the USCCB 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.”
The Illinois dioceses’ procedures include, among other things:
• The diocesan website publication of the names of its clerics credibly accused of sexual abuse
• Policies for handling allegations of sexual abuse of minors against clerics incardinated in their
• Diocesan policies for handling such allegations against deceased, laicized, and religious order
• Processes for dealing with allegations that arise during criminal investigations or civil lawsuits.
Cardinal Cupich continued, “At this time, working with the Office of the Attorney General of
Illinois, the leaders of all six Illinois dioceses endeavored to make clear and update our approach, mindful of our lived experience and best practices in this field. Our common goals in doing so are to ensure we offer pastoral support to those affected by this tragedy and to work diligently to prevent it from occurring again.”
The Illinois Catholic dioceses – Belleville, Chicago, Joliet, Peoria, Rockford, and Springfield –
serve 3.4 million Catholics, comprising approximately 27 percent of the total state population.