Cardinal Cupich details streamlining process to handle sex abuse allegations in Catholic church

Survivors say more has to be done about Catholic priest abuse

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Thursday, May 18, 2023
Cupich details streamlining process to handle sex abuse allegations
Chicago Archdiocese Cardinal Blase Cupich detailed streamlining the process of handling abuse allegations in the Roman Catholic church Thursday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Cardinal Blase Cupich spoke with ABC7 Chicago exclusively Thursday about how all six Illinois Catholic dioceses are now streamlining their process for handling allegations of sexual abuse by a member of the Catholic clergy.

The hope is to give people a better understanding of how the Illinois Catholic dioceses handle allegations of sexual abuse of minors, but survivors have said church leaders need to do more.

"We wanted to make sure that we followed the same kind of format and the ways that we communicate information," Cupich said.

On Thursday, the six dioceses in the state released a joint statement detailing the process of reporting and investigating each case, including the publication of names of clerics "credibly accused" of sexual abuse.

"The way that we communicated information to people, especially through our websites, had some variations, and so we tried to tighten that up as a means of making sure that people were able to find the information understandable across all the dioceses," Cupich said.

Chicago's Cardinal Cupich told ABC7 Chicago while each of the six dioceses all had similar practices in investigation and reporting, changes were made to streamline the process across the entire state.

The announcement comes amid an ongoing investigation by the state of Illinois.

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That investigation actually started years ago with former Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

Shortly before she left office in 2018, Madigan announced her investigation found child sex accusations against at least 500 priests and clergymen in Illinois had never been made public.

Current Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul promised to continue Madigan's work. But, to date, the final report has not been released.

The organization "Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests" - known as SNAP - said the dioceses' announcement Thursday is, "nothing new."

In a statement, SNAP writes in part, "It's hurtful, not helpful, when Catholic officials all follow the same self-serving playbook in child sex abuse and cover up cases. Church members should be demanding the kind of real reform that Pope Francis promises, not the same old ducking and dodging that bishops have long delivered."

Cardinal Cupich, when asked about those still healing, acknowledged this is a difficult part of the church's history, saying "we have to bow to our past but not be bound by it. And we look forward to a ways in which we can move forward to bring about healing but also keep children safe."