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Illinois Attorney General Releases Report on Sexual Abuse of Children by Catholic Clergy

© Sputnik / Vladimir Astapkovich / Go to the mediabankA view of St Peter's Cathedral in Vatican.
A view of St Peter's Cathedral in Vatican. - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.05.2023
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul has released a report of a multi-year investigation, chronicling 70 years of sexual abuse of almost 2,000 children by Catholic church leaders and clergy across the state.
"I believe the church does important work to support vulnerable populations; however, as with any presumably reputable institution, the Catholic church must be held accountable when it betrays the public’s trust," Raoul said in a release on the report on Tuesday.
"It is my hope that this nearly 700-page report will provide some closure to survivors of child sex abuse by Catholic clerics by shining a light both on those who violated their positions of power and trust, and on the individuals in church leadership who covered up that abuse."
Although those who committed abuse may never be held accountable in a court of law, naming them intends to provide a public accounting and a measure of healing to survivors who have long suffered in silence, the release said.
Before the Attorney General's investigation, the Catholic dioceses of Illinois publicly acknowledged there were 103 substantiated child sex abusers.
However, the report reveals the names and detailed information of 451 Catholic clerics and religious brothers who abused as many as 1,997 children across Illinois’ Catholic dioceses, the release said.
David Lorenz, Maryland leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, testifies in favor of a measure to end Maryland's statute of limitations for when civil lawsuits can be filed against institutions for child sexual abuse during a hearing before the Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023 in Annapolis, Md. - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.04.2023
Attorney General Releases Report on Child Sexual Abuse in Baltimore Catholic Archdiocese
"The survivor narratives demonstrate a troubling pattern of the church failing to support survivors, ignoring or covering up reports of abuse, and survivors being revictimized by the church when they came forward to report being abused," the release said.
"Repeatedly, church officials prioritized the reputation of the institution over protecting children, frequently giving abusive priests the benefit of the doubt - giving abusers the chance to abuse again - and even covering up the abuse by misleading the public."
As a direct result of this investigation, the dioceses have improved their policies relating to their investigations of child sex abuse allegations and the public disclosure of substantiated child sex abusers, the release added.

The latest release comes after the Maryland Attorney General's Office released its own report detailing abuses committed by authority figures - including members of the clergy - in the Archdiocese of Baltimore over a 80-year period.

The early April report included recommendations for the Maryland legislature to amend its statute of limitations for potential civil actions in abuse cases.

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