Chicago priest sex abuse victims demand more files - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Chicago priest sex abuse victims demand more files

Posted: Updated:
(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

By TAMMY WEBBER and DON BABWIN
Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) - Victims of childhood sexual abuse by priests vowed to keep pushing for more information on how allegations were handled by the Archdiocese of Chicago and other Catholic orders, and are encouraging other victims to come forward.

More than 6,000 pages of internal church documents posted online Tuesday by attorneys showed how officials at the highest level of the nation's third-largest archdiocese tried to contain the scandal, including by moving accused priests from parish to parish while hiding their histories from the public.

But the documents, released through settlements between attorneys for the archdiocese and victims, cover only 30 of the at least 65 clergy members for whom the archdiocese says it has substantiated claims of child abuse.

St. Paul, Minn., attorney Jeff Anderson said he will push for documents involving the other 35 archdiocese priests.

"This is a great step, but what is settled is far from what we're shooting for," Anderson said Tuesday at a news conference. Archdiocese officials have said they'll review and develop a process to release documents on those 35 other cases.

Angel Santiago, who was abused in the 1980s by one of the 30 priests singled out in the documents, said he hopes more victims of abuse come forward.

"These files here represent a lot for us survivors. For some of us it will be answers, for some of us it will be peace of mind ... for all of us, it's a start," Santiago said. "And the more that we find more survivors, the stronger we get and we can get more files out of the archdiocese."

Other victims said they also want the Church to release documents on abusive clergy in other religious orders in the Chicago area.

David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, called on Cardinal Francis George to "discipline or demote and denounce and even defrock some of the members of his staff who are responsible for these individuals being hurt and ... at a minimum turned a blind eye to these horrific crimes and worse, concealed those crimes and enabled more crimes just like them."

He also said some priests who abused in the Chicago archdiocese are working elsewhere now.

Chicago attorney Marc Pearlman said he and Anderson have "many cases" pending with the archdiocese, which "allows us to keep putting pressure on them."

"There should be zero tolerance within any diocese in country, and anyone found to have shielded a sex abuser should be fired," Pearlman said.

The documents include more than 6,000 pages of internal communications between church officials, disturbing testimony about specific abuses, meeting schedules where allegations were discussed and letters from anguished parishioners. The names of victims and details considered private under mental health laws were redacted.

Late Cardinals John Cody and Joseph Bernardin often approved the reassignments, the documents show. The archdiocese removed some priests from ministry, but often years or decades after the clergy were known to have molested children.

In a letter distributed to parishes last week, George apologized to victims and Catholics, and said the archdiocese agreed to turn over the records to help the victims heal.

The archdiocese released a statement Tuesday saying it knows it "made some decisions decades ago that are now difficult to justify" and that it is "working hard to regain trust, to reach out to victims and their families, and to make certain that all children and youth are protected," the statement read.

Officials in the archdiocese said most of the abuse detailed in the files released Tuesday occurred before 1988 but not after 1996, and that the cases ultimately were reported to authorities.

But victims' lawyers argue many of the allegations surfaced after George assumed control of the archdiocese in 1997, and some of the documents relate to how the church handled the cases more recently.

___

Associated Press writer Sara Burnett contributed.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • McAllister's campaign finances take a hit

    McAllister's campaign finances take a hit

    Saturday, April 19 2014 3:39 PM EDT2014-04-19 19:39:13 GMT
    Congressman Vance McAllisterCongressman Vance McAllister
    LOUISIANA (KALB News Channel 5) -- Controversial Louisiana Congressman Vance McAllister only has a little more than $8,000 in his campaign account according to a new report published this week by Politico.More >>
    LOUISIANA (KALB News Channel 5) -- Controversial Louisiana Congressman Vance McAllister only has a little more than $8,000 in his campaign account according to a new report published this week by Politico.More >>
  • Pollock inmate sentenced for assaulting prison employee

    Pollock inmate sentenced for assaulting prison employee

    Friday, April 18 2014 5:25 PM EDT2014-04-18 21:25:55 GMT
    ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) - A federal inmate who pleaded guilty to attacking a prison guard has been sentenced to another 16½ years and three years of supervised release for the assault. U.S. District JudgeMore >>
    ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) - A federal inmate who pleaded guilty to attacking a prison guard has been sentenced to another 16½ years and three years of supervised release for the assault.More >>
  • Counterfeit money surfaces in Cenla

    Counterfeit money surfaces in Cenla

    Friday, April 18 2014 3:13 PM EDT2014-04-18 19:13:22 GMT
    ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - A couple of shops around town have been receiving counterfeit money this year, even counterfeit versions of the new $100 bill, which came out just late last year. WhenMore >>
    ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - A couple of shops around town have been receiving counterfeit money this year, even counterfeit versions of the new $100 bill, which came out just late last year.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KALB. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.