New Report Reveals 451 IL Clergy Accused of Sexually Abusing 1,997 Children
(Chicago, IL) – Today, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul released an investigative report into clergy sexual abuse in the six Illinois Catholic dioceses. In 2018, then-Attorney General Lisa Madigan opened an investigation into clergy child sexual abuse. Just four months later, the preliminary results unveiled more than 500 additional priests and clergy members with sexual abuse allegations, racking up a grand total of at least 685 accused clergy. The report released today reveals additional findings after a nearly four-year investigation comes to a close.
“This report is the most survivor-centric, robust, and thorough AG report – a foundational exposé unearthing crimes of those who chose to abuse their positions of power,” said attorney Jeff Anderson.
When Bob Corcoran, a victim who transformed to a courageous survivor of clergy child sex abuse, heard about the release of the report, he felt a sense of relief. Bob was abused by Fr. Thomas Considine in the Diocese of Rockford when he was just 13 years old, and for many years didn’t tell anyone and felt ashamed of the abuse he suffered.
Statement from Survivor Bob Corcoran:
“After silently suffering from the abuse I encountered over 50 years ago and making multiple attempts to pursue resolutions in my case over 10 years, it is extremely uplifting to see that the Rockford Diocese is, FINALLY, being held accountable for the predatory behavior of their priests.
Suffering through a repressed memory of the abuse took its toll on me personally and in all my relationships. To be able to identify how this has sabotaged me over the course of my life, is, at times unbearable. I recommend that anyone who suspects that they were abused as a child, to please follow the path of redemption. It is starting to set me free. I understand the journey of healing is, at times, painful, embarrassing and destructive. I can personally tell you, the journey is worth it to put a stop to those who abuse their power against innocent children. You will not regret it.”
“To see the light at the end of the tunnel, and there is no longer a freight train racing towards me, is freeing. We all need to do our part in bringing resolution to the most vulnerable – children like you and me.” – Bob Corcoran, Illinois Survivor & Advocate
“Decades of abuse and concealment and years of investigating have led to a single moment today,” said attorney Marc Pearlman. “This is a moment that survivors, advocates, and loved ones will never forget.”
Following the release of the preliminary report, the Diocese of Belleville released a statement in response, saying, “Nearly all allegations of childhood sexual abuse…occurred decades ago, with no reported allegations occurring since 2000.” The Archdiocese of Chicago also released a statement, saying they’ve “been at the forefront of dealing with the issue of clergy sexual abuse for nearly three decades.” In 2019, after we released a report of IL clergy accused of sexual misconduct, the Bishop of Springfield, Bp. Thomas John Paprocki responded, calling our report “highly misleading” and “irresponsible”.
“We applaud the AG’s office for their investigation, but this never should have been necessary,” said attorney Melissa Anderson. “This happened because people in power chose silence over truth, greed over accountability, and criminals over children.”
We, along with Frost Pearlman LLC., have more than 120 active Illinois clergy sexual abuse cases. Unfortunately, it’s likely there are survivors out there that have yet to come forward. We commend the AG on dedicating resources and time to interview hundreds of survivors and excavate tens of thousands of documents. Not only is this report validating for survivors, but it holds perpetrators and guilty institutions accountable. Additionally, it deters others from ignoring potential signs of abuse; hopefully preventing more children from being abused. While this report is a solid foundation to transparency and accountability that has never before existed in the clerical culture, this report is not completely comprehensive. There is more work to be done.
“This report is a breakthrough in transparency and brought light and heat towards true accountability.” – Attorney Jeff Anderson