Statement of the Archdiocese of Chicago on the List of Accused Priests Released Today by Anderson & Associates
Today Anderson & Associates released the names of clerics and laypeople they say have been accused of the sexual abuse of minors and have served in one or more of the six Illinois dioceses. The Archdiocese of Chicago reports all allegations we receive to the civil authorities. In addition to the priests listed on the archdiocese’s website, we have identified 22 priests of the Archdiocese of Chicago on Anderson & Associates’ list.
The archdiocese has reported 20 of these clerics to the civil authorities; in one of the remaining two cases, the archdiocese first received notice when the cleric was arrested, and in the other it was an allegation of misconduct with an adult, not a minor. This chart details the circumstances surrounding these 22 allegations and disposition of those cases.
Priests with substantiated allegations are listed on the archdiocese’s website.
The Archdiocese of Chicago does not “police itself.” It reports all allegations to the civil authorities, regardless of the date of the alleged abuse, whether the priest is a diocesan priest or religious order priest, and whether the priest is alive or dead.
When an allegation against an archdiocesan cleric is made and before any investigation begins, the archdiocesan Office of Assistance Ministry promptly reaches out to the person making the allegation and offers therapy at archdiocesan expense from a licensed therapist of the person’s choosing. The archdiocese withdraws the accused priest from ministry pending investigation of the allegation and publicly announces this action.
After the civil authorities have completed their investigation, the archdiocese conducts its investigation.
The Independent Review Board, which considers the results of such investigations, was established in 1993. The majority of its members are laypeople. The Independent Review Board is the primary adviser to the archbishop on issues of risk to children and fitness for ministry.
Anderson & Associates conflates people who have been accused, but may be innocent, with those who have substantiated allegations against them, referring to all as perpetrators. Their list includes:
- a priest whose allegations were investigated by the public authorities and were determined to be unfounded. The Archdiocese’s Independent Review Board also investigated and determined that the allegations were not substantiated. The priest was then returned to ministry.
- two priests whose cases are under investigation; their cases were reported to the authorities and they have been withdrawn from ministry, pending the outcome of the investigation.
- a seminarian (who was a transitional deacon) who was never ordained a priest.
- a priest who was accused of misconduct with an adult, not a minor.
Many of the names listed by Anderson & Associates are religious order priests. We provide the following information to help clarify their governance:
Dioceses and religious orders are separately governed entities in the Roman Catholic Church. Bishops govern dioceses; religious superiors govern religious orders. The bishop selects, trains, and supervises diocesan priests. The religious orders select, train and supervise their priests. The diocesan and religious order priests often do similar work, but each group is responsible to its own chain of authority (Canon 586). Disagreements between a bishop and a religious superior are referred to the Holy See for resolution.
A bishop and a religious superior work cooperatively such as when a bishop grants faculties (a license) for a religious priest to work in a diocesan institution, such as a parish (Canon 678). Nevertheless, the religious order priest is still under the authority of his religious superior. Similarly, a bishop may revoke a religious order priest’s faculties (a license) to work in the diocese. In that eventuality, the supervision and management of the order priests also remains the responsibility of his religious superior. In brief, a diocesan priest is the responsibility of the diocese and a religious priest is the responsibility of the religious order.
If the Archdiocese of Chicago receives an allegation that a religious priest has engaged in sexual misconduct with a minor, the archdiocese reports it to the civil authorities, publicly withdraws the priest’s faculties to work in the archdiocese, and refers the matter to his religious superior.
Religious superiors have the same obligation and responsibility as bishops to adhere to the terms set forth in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.