Robert Craig: Allegations of Sexual Abuse of a Minor Have Been Admitted, Established or Determined to Be Credible

Robert Craig

Ordained: 1974

  • 1974-1977: St. Aloysius, Chicago, IL (CHI)
  • 1977-1982: St. Anthony, Chicago, IL (CHI)
  • 1982-1987: St. Ann, Chicago, IL (CHI)
  • 1987-1990: St. Mark, Chicago, IL (CHI)
  • 1990-1993: Medical Leave of Absence; Cardinal Stritch Retreat House, Mundelein Seminary, Chicago, IL (CHI)
  • 1991: Servants of the Paraclete, Cherry Valley, CA (SB)
  • 1992: Unknown
  • 1993: Resigned
  • 1994-2008: Unknown
  • 2009: Laicized
  • 2010-2019: Unknown

The Archdiocese of Chicago learned that Fr. Robert D. Craig had been accused of sexually abusing a child in approximately 1990. Fr. Craig reportedly gave Bishop Raymond Goedert a list of at least five alleged victims of Fr. Craig. Fr. Craig was sent to Servants of the Paraclete, an institution known for treating priests accused of child sexual abuse. Fr. Craig has been named in at least five civil lawsuits and is included in the Archdiocese of Chicago’s list of “Archdiocesan Priests with Substantiated Allegations of Sexual Misconduct with Minors.” He was laicized in 2009. Fr. Craig’s whereabouts and whether he has had access to children since 1991 are unknown.

Fr. Robert D. Craig Timeline
Fr. Robert D. Craig Documents

Twenty Years of Cover-up

The Robert Craig file shows a 20-year history of how cover-up by the Archdiocese and how top leadership handled “the problem” of a child-molesting priest and did everything its power to be sure that Craig’s criminal activity was never exposed.

Before Craig’s ordination in 1974, the Chicago Clergy Personnel Board already knew that Craig was a problem. By 1990, Cardinal Bernardin had personal knowledge that Craig was sexually molesting children. That same year, Craig violated the terms of his “monitoring” by attending a high school graduation where many of his victims were present. Less than three months later, Craig gave Bishop Goedert a list of the names of more than five of his victims. Instead of reaching out to those victims or calling the police the Archdiocese kept that list secret.

In October 1990, Cardinal Bernardin put Craig under “House Arrest” and had him “monitored.” Craig was also sent to treatment facilities in California.

Bernardin quietly removed Craig from the priesthood in 1993, but not before giving the priest a letter of recommendation so that he could easily find work. The Archdiocese does nothing to alert the police or public of Craig’s crimes or of the threat he posed.


2/19/74            Clergy Personnel Board minutes says Robert Craig is a hard worker; must have someone working with him. Fr. Tom Murphy’s advice: be concerned.

5/8/74 – Ordained

5/8/74 – Associate Pastor, St. Aloysius

1977 – Associate Pastor, St. Anthony

1979 or 1980   Craig fondles a survivor at St. Anthony’s rectory according to a report to the Archdiocese in 2007. (AOC 001710)

1982 – Associate Pastor, St. Ann’s

1982                According to memo from January 28, 1993 from Fr. Clete Kiley, Craig took boys to Mundelein seminary pool for nude swimming and slept overnight at St. Ann’s rectory in the nude. (AOC 001687-AOC 001690)

1985                According to a memo from Sept. 24, 1990 from Bishop Goedert, Craig rapes a high school seminarian at Quigley South. (AOC 001707- AOC 001708)

1987 – Associate Pastor, St. Mark’s

1987                According to an abstract from May 25, 2004, Craig groped and watched a survivor and a group of boys in the shower. (AOC 001659)

1987                According to an abstract from May 5, 2004, Craig took a survivor to the Zoo returned and showered at St. Mark’s rectory where Craig fondled his genitals in the shower. (AOC 001660)

5/30/90            Craig writes a letter to Cardinal Bernardin stating “the bad news first”: that he attended graduation at Quigley South High School. When Bishop Goedert was asked about the letter in a 2007 deposition, he claimed no knowledge about the case.

9/13/90            In a “memo to file” Goedert personally handles an allegation of sex abuse against Craig. A Spanish speaking mother disclosed to Fr. Ed Maloney that Craig has been abusing her son. Goedert says in the memo that he wants to talk to the boy before confronting Craig.

10/2/90 – House Arrest at St. Mark’s under supervision of Fr. Ed Maloney. (AOC 001664)

10/12/90          Memo from Bishop Goedert to Craig file noting that he spoke with Fr. Sullivan regarding Craig. Craig is to refrain from all public ministry, there is a pattern in Craig’s activities and some of the things he has done constitute criminal behavior. In 2007, Bishop Goedert is asked about the letter in a civil deposition.

10/16/90          Goedert writes a letter to Craig. Goedert mentions a list of names he asked Craig to provide, and says that while the list “may incriminate” Craig, “The Archdiocese has a duty it cannot ignore.” In a 2007 deposition, Goedert says that the list was comprised of names of victims, and there were more than five names on the list. Craig says that the Archdiocese wanted to contact the names on the list, but Craig’s attorney recommended against it. This list was never turned over to police.

12/27/90 – Cardinal Stritch Retreat House, Mundelein Seminary

11/14/91          Cardinal Bernardin meets with Craig and assigns him to the Servants of the Paraclete in Cherry Valley, California. (AOC 001662)

1991                Craig’s monitoring agreement. (AOC 001693)

11/19/91          Chancellor Fr. Kealy writes to St. Mark’s Pastor, “It seems best not to make any mention publically of the official conclusion of his assignment.” (AOC 001661)

7/17/92            Memo to Craig’s file noting that a survivor was subpoenaed by State’s Attorney’s office. (AOC 001695)

6/5/93              Fr. O’Malley meets with Craig at Mundelein Retreat House and presents four options: Resign priesthood, accept church residence under supervision, reside at Wounded Brothers project in St. Louis, or reside at the Cistercian Snowmass monastery in Colorado. (AOC 001683)

9/29/93            Cardinal Bernardin thanks Craig for his twenty years of service to the Archdiocese. (AOC 001680)

10/7/93 – Medical Leave of Absence

10/4/04            Archdiocese determines there is reasonable cause to suspect Craig sexual abused a minor as a priest of the Archdiocese. (AOC 001657)

11/13/07          Bishop Goedert is deposed in order to meet a non-monetary demand of sex abuse survivors. In the deposition, he is asked about Craig. Goedert says that in 1990, when Craig attended graduation at Quigley South High School, Goedert had no knowledge why that would be a problem. . Goedert tells victims’ attorneys that his major concern was avoiding scandal.

Goedert is also asked about a letter he wrote that allowed Craig to celebrate a Jubilee Mass, although at the time, Craig has been ordered to refrain from all public ministry.

Goedert was also asked about a list of victims’ names (more than five) that Craig had provided to the Archdiocese. Although Craig says in the deposition that he Archdiocese wanted to reach out to the people whose names were on the list, they took the advice of Craig’s attorney and did not.