Now-former Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan reported that six Illinois Roman Catholic dioceses failed to disclose at least 500 sexual abuse cases involving priests. That is one of the first findings the office has released so far in its ongoing investigation of the dioceses.
She said the investigation aims to uncover both the extent of sexual abuse incidents in Illinois’ Catholic Church and whether church officials tried to cover them up.
“For decades, the Catholic Church was hiding these, in many ways, discrediting the victims and their families,” she said.
It’s unclear at the moment which dioceses the priests involved in those cases were practicing in and whether they’re still members of the clergy.
Since the investigation began in August, the six dioceses have altogether released the names of about 180 priests who had “credible” abuse allegations against them. But documents obtained by the Attorney General’s Office show the church did not notify the police or the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services about hundreds of other cases.
In a statement, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Catholic Diocese of Springfield said he is cooperating with the investigation and called the non-disclosures a “virtuous intent to protect the faithful from scandal.”
Though some of the priests involved in those incidents have since died, Madigan said prosecution is still on the table.
“Obviously there is a statute of limitations issue, sometimes with individual clergy members," she said. "But, as our investigation continues, we will certainly take legal action if it’s warranted.”
Separately, the Attorney General's Office said it's received 300 other abuse allegations via a clergy sexual abuse hotline that was launched in August.
Incoming Attorney General Kwame Raoul released a statement saying he is "committed to continuing this investigation."
Reprinted with permission from news.stlpublicradio.org.
Joyous Jubilee concert series
Saint Louis Cathedral Concerts, an independent nonprofit that brings sacred and classical music to St. Louis from world-class musicians, will host its first ever Joyous Jubilee concert series. This series will showcase three exceptional African-American concert choirs performing sacred and contemporary gospel music in one of the world’s grandest cathedrals, the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, located at 4431 Lindell Blvd. The concerts are: 8 p.m. January 18, North City Deanery Choir; 8 p.m. January 25, Dello Thedford & The Gospel Symphonic Choir; and 8 p.m. February 1, American Spiritual Ensemble. For more information, visit https://cathedralconcerts.org.
Brian Owens plays Second Presbyterian Church
The Brian Owens Duo will explore songs of love and hope in Owens’ own compositions as well as music by African-American artists 1t 4 p.m. Sunday, February 17 at Second Presbyterian Church, located at 4501 Westminster Pl. in the Central West End, St. Louis, 63108. The concert is part of the Couts Music Series and is free to the community. For more information call 314-367-0367 or visit www.secondchurch.net.