Former Ill. AG, Penn. AG discuss scathing investigations into church sex abuse

CHICAGO (WLS) -- After releasing their own investigations last year, former Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Pennsylvania's Attorney General Josh Shapiro said it's time for the Vatican to come up some clear policies on how dioceses should handle past, present and future sexual abuse cases.

When it comes to sexual abuse allegations, the Catholic Church is not capable of policing itself, Illinois' former Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Pennsylvania's Attorney General Josh Shapiro have concluded. The University of Chicago's Institute of Politics brought both together to talk Monday about their scathing investigations into the sex abuse scandal and what's next for the church.

"They have failed to react properly, they haven't put in place the policies, they haven't put in place procedures, they haven't admitted what has happened," Madigan said.

Before leaving office, Madigan released a report accusing all six Illinois dioceses of withholding the names of more than 500 priests accused of abuse. Madigan launched her investigation after Shapiro released a grand jury report last August accusing more than 300 Pennsylvania priests of abuse. The report also accused the church of a cover-up.

"Contained in the files of these predator priests were words like "horseplay" that was used to describe the rape of an 11-year-old boy," Shapiro said.

Shaprio and Madigan accuse bishops of shutting down survivors, eluding law enforcement and moving predator priests from parish to parish to escape the statute of limitations. Both hope some concrete change comes out of the sex abuse summit later this month with Pope Francis and the bishops, including Cardinal Blase Cupich.

"I hope whatever comes out of this meeting in February includes some sort of secular recognition that secular authorities must be part of the solution," Shapiro said.

While the fear is not much will come out of the meeting, Madigan says it's time for the church to admit what has happened

"You can't hold yourself out as the ultimate moral authority and be raping and molesting children," Madigan said.

Madigan's successor as Illinois Attorney General, Kwame Raoul, said he is committed to continuing the investigation Madigan started. She says all six Illinois dioceses have been cooperating. If that changes, convening a grand jury is a possibility.
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