Illinois attorney general’s report finds 451 abusive clergymen in state Catholic Church system over nearly 90-year period

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More than 450 adult Catholic clergymen abused nearly 2,000 children in the state of Illinois over a period of almost 90 years, according to a report released Tuesday from Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul.

“This report reveals names and detailed information of 451 Catholic clerics and religious brothers who abused at least 1,997 children across all of the dioceses in Illinois,” Raoul wrote in a message accompanying the report.

The investigation identified 275 allegedly abusive clerics and religious brothers in the Archdiocese of Chicago, 43 in the Diocese of Belleville, 69 in Joliet, 51 in Peoria, 24 in Rockford and 32 in Springfield. Some accused abusers worked in multiple dioceses, equaling a “discrete” total of 451 accused, according to the report.

The report claims to have identified 149 individual perpetrators who were previously undisclosed by the dioceses, and that the dioceses continued to publicly disclose alleged perpetrators during the course of the investigation.

The report contains detailed accounts of alleged sexual abuse, as well as lists of the accused clergymen. It concludes with recommendations for more uniform and coordinated investigations of sexual abuse within the Illinois church, greater care for survivors, and for the dioceses to update their disclosures of alleged abusers.

A statement from Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, provided to NEWS on Tuesday detailed “concerns” with the findings, and says all the names disclosed in the report were already known to the church and publicized.

The Diocese of Rockford apologized for “the pain endured by victim survivors of childhood sexual abuse” in a statement provided to NEWS, and noted Rockford was the only diocese where the report did not find additional names that needed to be disclosed.

The report “has served as a reminder that some clergy in the Church committed shameful and disgraceful sins against innocent victim survivors and did damage that simply cannot be undone,” the Diocese of Springfield said in a statement.

Bishop Michael McGovern of Belleville in a statement detailed the diocese’s work addressing child sexual abuse and noted that, to the best of their knowledge, no credibly accused abuser is currently working in the diocese.

The Diocese of Peoria said the community “has implemented significant changes that have made the Church safer for children,” in a statement emailed to NEWS Tuesday.

NEWS has reached out to the Diocese of Joliet for comment.