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Illinois Church Abuse Lawsuit
2,000 Illinois Catholic Church Survivors Vindicated.
A recent report ended a 5-year investigation into the Illinois Catholic Church, released by the IL attorney general’s office May 23 (2023) – one month after a similar report was released on the Baltimore Archdiocese. This one, “The Illinois Attorney General Report on Catholic Clergy Child Sex Abuse in Illinois 2023,”1 lists 451 clergymen and lay religious brothers credibly accused of child sex abuse between 1950 and 2019; it also names 149 new assailants and hundreds more survivors.
Nearly 2,000 children now grown up, old, or deceased, were individually vindicated by results of the probe that detailed an organization invoking the name of God but riddled with child assault at the hands of the ordained.
The report confirms that those at the top of the hierarchy, sometimes abusers themselves, guarded the culture with their lives.
According to investigators2
The findings are 4 times worse than disclosed by all 6 Illinois dioceses when the investigation started in 2018.
Early on, a marked gap was identified between the number of clergymen credibly accused and the much smaller number offered by the church. This matters because “questions about abuse by Illinois clergy members have lingered for years,” wrote New York Times reporter Ruth Graham.3
Across the US, States are Lengthening the Time that Survivors Have to Bring Civil Legal Action Against the Institutions that Harbored Predators.
In Illinois there is a cap on how long survivors have to bring legal action. This is called the Statute of Limitations (SOL). However, the recent report on Catholic clergy misconduct in Illinois is so horrific and conclusive that many are pushing to extend the SOL so that survivors in Illinois have the opportunity to seek justice, just as they have recently in states like Maryland.
Currently 25 states are working to create alternatives to outdated limits, with 1- or 2-year lookback windows that lift a state’s usual laws and allow survivors to file charges no matter when the abuse happened.
A Case for Justice is currently working with attorneys who care deeply about helping the many men and women whose lives have been deeply impacted by the failure of the Catholic Church.
Please do not wait. If you were abused by a member of the Church, even decades ago, please contact us now to protect your rights.
Decades of Catholic leadership decisions and policies have allowed known child sex abusers to hide, often in plain sight.
– Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul
A Cardinal’s Pushback Downplays Decades of Horror Stories.
Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of the Chicago Archdiocese delivered his response to the scathing report in a televised appeal to the Illinois public, which is 27% Catholic, above the national average.
“First,” he said, “we have reported all allegations of child sexual abuse by clergy to civil authorities, no matter when the abuse is alleged to have occurred, whether the accused is alive or dead, a diocesan priest or extern priest from another diocese, or a religious order priest. There are no hidden or undisclosed cases,” he said.
Referencing the 149 new abusers listed in the report, not on the Chicago Archdiocese’s website, Cardinal Cupich said church leaders were not informed by the attorney general’s office beforehand: these names were “new and unexplained,” he said, adding the report failed to define how credibly accused is deemed appropriate, and by whom. Survivors are having none of it.
There’s No Questioning the Report.
“Before 2018 when the investigation began, hierarchs in every Illinois diocese kept known abusers under wraps, declined to include them on their accused lists, and refused to acknowledge the truth that survivors of abuse who came forward to make a report shared with them,” said Mike McDonnell, communications director of SNAP [Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests].
Illinois AG Kwame Raoul acknowledged that the state’s statute of limitations has expired in many cases. “Those abusers will never see justice in a legal sense… By naming them [survivors] here, the intention is to provide a public accountability and a measure of healing to survivors who have long suffered in silence.”
Survivor stories like this one hold the key to overwhelming action, incentivizing legislatures to make change:
“To see the light at the end of the tunnel, and there is no longer a freight train racing towards me, is freeing,” said survivor Bob Corcoran of Elgin, IL. “We all need to do our part in bringing resolution to the most vulnerable – children like you and me.”
Every One of Us Is Pledged to Keep Your Confidence.
We want to help survivors and, in so doing, spark widespread systemic change to end this insanity. And/but these things can only happen if people (maybe you) find someone to trust and tell your story.
If you or someone you love or someone you know is a survivor of Catholic priest abuse in Illinois, please reach out. This is the key. It’s the only way.
You can tell us your story, in strictest confidence. We care about protecting your privacy.
Regain Control Through Legal Action.
We are honored to be working with Wahlberg, Woodruff, Nimmo, & Sloane, LLP, a firm whose team specializes in complex civil litigations for survivors of sex abuse/assault by clergy, educators, and employers.
WWNS, which has achieved multiple large settlements for sex assault and child sex abuse survivors, works on a contingency-fee basis. You pay nothing unless they successfully achieve compensation for you.
There is no charge for our services.
Together, WWNS and A Case for Justice are committed to helping survivors heal.
Your Story Matters.
In Illinois, the Church looked the other way for too long. Now is the time for survivors to seek justice. We are here to listen, even if you only want to talk through a text or email.
A Case for Justice has helped thousands of survivors regain their voices and we are ready to help you, too.
- Unnamed, “OFFICE OF THE ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL REPORT ON CATHOLIC CLERGY CHILD SEX ABUSE IN ILLINOIS 2023,” Office of the Illinois Attorney General, May 23, 2023.
- Kathleen Foody and Michael Tarm, “Catholic clergy abused Illinois kids far more often than church acknowledged, state finds: Catholic clergy sex abuse vastly underreported,” Associated Press, May 23, 2023.
- Ruth Graham, “Sex Abuse in Catholic Church: Over 1,900 Minors Abused in Illinois, State Says,” New York Times, May 23, 2023.