How many Illinois Catholic clergy accused of sexual abuse against children are still unnamed? AG Says 505

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has reported that 505 Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse against children in her state have yet to be named. The tally, she said, is much higher than previously reported.

Accusations have been made against 690 priests, but the Catholic Church has identified only 185 of them with credible accusations against them,Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday.

"The number of allegations above what was already public is shocking," said Ms. Madigan in an interview with The New York Times.

Chicago Cardinal Blasé Cupich said in a prepared statement: "I want to express again the profound regret of the whole church for our failures to address the scourge of clerical sexual abuse. It is the courage of the victim-survivors that has shed purifying light on this dark chapter in church history."

Madigan's report criticizes six Catholic dioceses in Illinois for lack of transparency and faulty investigations into clergy accused of sexually abusing children in their parishes.

"Long after legal remedies have expired, the Catholic Church has the ability and moral responsibility to survivors to offer support and services, and to take swift action to remove abusive clergy," Madigan wrote in the report, according to Chicago Tribune.

Archdiocese of Chicago general counsel William Kunkel said the public list of credibly accused Chicago priests is not expected to grow.

"We expect to add no further names at this point," said Kunkel. "We think the list is a complete list of all priests, of all clergy who have worked in the archdiocese who have substantiated claims."

Meanwhile, the archdiocese said it has enlisted an independent expert to analyze policies on handling abuse allegations.

Even though Madigan characterized the report as preliminary, it precedes the fast-approaching spiritual retreat among Catholic bishops from around the country in January, when the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops convene at Mundelein Seminary in Chicago. Pope Francis ordered the bishops to meet, in part to discuss the ongoing clergy sex abuse scandal, wrote the Chicago Tribune.

Madigan's report and the anticipated historic multiday spiritual retreat comes on the heels of a seriously incriminating grand jury report in August that documented bishops and other Roman Catholic Church leaders in Pennsylvania, accusing them of covering up the sexual abuse of children by hundreds of priests and other clergy over seven decades.

Madigan reportedly met with church leaders throughout Illinois to research about six clergy members named in the grand jury report.

Her report does not provide an estimate of the number of credible allegations against the full 690 clergy. However, she emphasized that "Clergy sexual abuse of minors in Illinois is significantly more extensive than the Illinois Dioceses previously reported."

Furthermore, Madigan said Illinois dioceses have not followed United States Conference of Catholic Bishops policies, nor have they remedied the "abhorrent acts of abuse" through "the healing and reconciliation of survivors."

Cupich said he knows the victims still live with the pain. He said the archdiocese has studied the issue of sexual abuse since 1991: That's when former Cardinal Joseph Bernardin formed a special commission to do so.

Cupich also defended the Office for the Protection of Children as an avenue to help survivors.

"I want to express again the profound regret of the whole church for our failures to address the scourge of clerical sexual abuse," said Cupich. "It is the courage of the victim-survivors that has shed purifying light on this dark chapter in church history."

Democrat Kwame Raoul, who will succeed Madigan as state attorney general in 2019, said he will continue the inquiry into the sexual abuse allegations.

"The Catholic church needs to prioritize survivors," Madigan told the Chicago Tribune in a telephone interview.

Some of the allegations go back decades. Archdiocese of Chicago said it will not further investigate because it already filed reports with Cook and Lake counties, according to Kunkel.

In November, the archdiocese added 10 names to an online list of clergy with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse against children, wrote Chicago Tribune.

How many Illinois Catholic clergy accused of sexual abuse against children are still unnamed? AG Says 505 | U.S.