CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago priests were invited to talk about the sex abuse scandal ripping the church apart in a closed-door meeting Wednesday night. Survivors seized the moment to speak out about the abuse.
CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reports the meeting, closed to the public and the media, took place in Mundelein.
A police officer was stationed at the gathering spot for much of the day as Cardinal Blasé Cupich held an open discussion about the sex abuse scandal with priests from the Chicago area.
Ken Kaczmarz, a survivor that was abused by a priest, shared his story.
“I was molested by an Augustinian priest in 1980-1981 time frame,” Kaczmarz said. “It’s very encouraging that we are finally getting large numbers of people to listen to us and say ‘Wow.’”
Bill Reidy, also a survivor, is coming face-to-face with his truth after more than 30 years.
“I was abused every single day at the school,” Reidy recalled. “I was sexually abused by a priest at Loyola from 1976 to 1979.”
Both men spoke out as Cardinal Blasé Cupich held a private meeting at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake and Mundelein Seminary, inviting priests within the Archdiocese of Chicago to talk about the sex scandal and raise any concerns they may have.
“I’m tired of asking bishops to do the right thing, and priests,” said Kate Bochte of the Survivors Network of those abused by priests. “Stop listening to their words because their words are empty and words are cheap.”
Bochte said there has been a jump in those coming forward since the last explosive Pennsylvania Attorney General report, which found that some 300 priests abused more than 1,000 children.
“This church, with all the good that it’s done over the years, is forever marred by the child sex abuse scandal,” said Marc Pearlman, a priest sex abuse attorney.
The closed-door and heavily secured meeting in Mundelein comes just one day before a group of senior U.S. bishops will meet with the Pope, in part, addressing the removal of Cardinal Theodore Mcaarick following allegations of abuse.
“I think what they have to do is just clean house and get rid of everyone. Start all over,” said Reidy.
“There is no reason for anyone to believe that this cardinal is going to do anything substantial to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” said Kaczmarz.
Cardinal Cupich will not meet with the Pope Thursday, but plans to meet with him in February.
In a statement, Cardinal Cupich said he is encouraged that the Pope is taking measures to show he is serious about the sex abuse allegations within the Catholic church.