CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan will meet with leaders of the Chicago Archdiocese to question them about seven llinois priests linked to the bombshell Pennsylvania grand jury report on priest sex abuse.
Earlier this month, a grand jury report revealed more than 300 “predator priests” in Pennsylvania sexually abused children over a span of seven decades, and Catholic Church leaders shielded them as part of a systemic cover-up. More than 1,000 children were abused by the priests named in the report.
Seven of those priests have connections to Illinois, and Madigan wants to speak to leaders of the Chicago Archdiocese and the other dioceses in Illinois about the allegations.
“The Catholic Church has a moral obligation to provide its parishioners and the public a complete and accurate accounting of all sexually inappropriate behavior involving priests in Illinois,” Madigan’s office said in a statement Thursday night.
Cardinal Blase Cupich will be in Ireland with Pope Francis this weekend. The cardinal has described the Pennsylvania grand jury report as a “catalogue of horrors,” and urged anyone who might have been sexually abused by a member of the clergy to come forward.
“There’s a dysfunction in the family, and we have to address it. Many bishops in the United States are just as outraged as people are by what we read in the grand jury report in Pennsylvania,” Cupich said earlier this week.
The seven priests in question were listed as receiving everything from mental evaluation in Chicago to leading churches of their own.
The Archdiocese of Chicago said it looks forward to talking to Madigan’s office about policies and procedures related to misconduct issues.
Church leaders said, since 2002, the Chicago Archdiocese has reported all abuse allegations to proper authorities, including state’s attorney’s offices and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
“Whenever there is a violation, we name it. We come out with it, we tell people what’s going on, and we make sure that people are held accountable,” Cupich said.
Madigan said she expects full cooperation from every diocese in Illinois. If she doesn’t get it, she’ll work with local state’s attorney’s offices and law enforcement agencies to launch a full investigation.
One of Chicago’s most notorious former priests, Daniel McCormack, pleaded guilty in 2007 to molesting five underage boys, although he’s accused of molesting more than 20.