Sex abuse victims sue all Illinois Catholic dioceses

Holding childhood pictures of themselves at the age they say they were sexually abused by Catholic priests, victims banded together to file a public nuisance lawsuit against every Catholic diocese in the state of Illinois.

"During the sacrament of confession when I was 12 years old, I was raped by a priest," said victim Josh Bollman.

Darin Buckman said his childhood was stolen from him by a priest Buckman said abused him when he was 8 and 9 years old.

"When something happens like this, what comes is blame, my fault, depression, anxiety and alcoholism is part of the avenue of coping," said Buckman.

Coping has been tough for Cindy Yesko ever since, she said, the Diocese of Springfield ignored her when, as an adult, she came forward to report sexual abuse by two different priests that happened when she was 6 years old.

"I was beside myself after that and I realized the church is not safe for anyone anymore," she said.

Victims said they feel abused again by being ignored by the Catholic Church. Their lawyers hope a public nuisance lawsuit against all Illinois dioceses will force bishops to turn over more names of offenders and all sex abuse files.

"We can force them to turn over files and show commission of crimes and top officials complicit it in them and we can turn over those files over enforcement," said attorney Jeff Anderson.
Even though a settlement forced the Archdiocese of Chicago to reveal names and files a few years ago, Anderson said it's not enough. He is calling on Cardinal Blase Cupich to step down.

"He does not deserve to hold that position until he comes clean and discloses all the secrets," Anderson said.

In a written statement, the Archdiocese of Chicago said it has not had time to review the lawsuit. The Diocese of Joliet responded by referring to its website, which contains a list of living and deceased priests who have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse. The Diocese of Rockford said it needs a further review of the lawsuit. The Diocese of Peoria disputes allegations it has ignored sexual abuse claims.
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