CHICAGO (CBS) — DCFS has closed its investigation into sexual abuse allegations against Father John Smyth of Maryville Academy, but, while the agency determined the allegations to be unfounded, that finding doesn’t exonerate the late priest.
DCFS bases its findings on whether there is a current threat to a child who is under age 18.
Father Smyth died this spring, eliminating any current threat. DCFS rules dictate an automatic “unfounded” determination in this case.
What exactly is in the report?
We’ll never know. DCFS does not release its reports as a matter of policy.
CBS 2 reported last month of nine alleged victims of Father Smyth. The Archdiocese of Chicago notified DCFS and the Cook County State’s Attorney about the allegations. That prompted DCFS to open a 60 day investigation in January, which just wrapped up.
Maryville is located in Des Plaines. Investigators there looked into allegations by some but not all of the alleged Maryville victims.
For 30 years, Father Smyth helmed Maryville Academy. He was nothing short of a miracle worker, turning wards of the state at a flailing orphanage into success stories. He was celebrated, despite Maryville’s closure in the early 2000s due to violence and a slew of damning findings, including inadequate supervision.
CBS 2 spoke with two alleged victims of Father Smyth, who described sexual assaults in graphic detail.
The Archdiocese said they put their internal investigation on hold so that it didn’t interfere with the investigations conducted by local authorities. Once the Archdiocese receives the DCFS report, its own investigation will resume.
In a statement, DCFS said,
“The DCFS investigation into allegations of abuse by Father Smyth was closed and determined to be unfounded. The outcome was reached because the criteria to indicate for the specific abuse allegation involving Smyth was not met. The outcome of the investigation is not an indication of the credibility of adult victims that have come forward with allegations of abuse involving Smyth.”
The Chicago Archdiocese said in statement,
“The Archdiocese has not yet received a report from DCFS regarding its investigation of the allegations made against Fr. Smyth. Upon receipt of that report, the Archdiocese will resume its investigation of the matter.”