A study released yesterday by the sexual abuse victims’ groups Voice of the Faithful, African American Advocates for Victims of Clergy Sex Abuse and the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) has found that more than half of the Roman Catholic parishes in Chicago had endured an allegation of sexual abuse by a priest at some point in time. The findings indicated that from 1980 until 1990, 57.7% of Chicago parishes harbored at least one accused priest. Numbers from other decades are almost identical.
The accuracy of the findings has been questioned by the Archdiocese of Chicago. A spokesperson for the Diocese noted that ‘the analysis and conclusions appear to be questionable’. The data was compiled by workers from the reform groups combing through a database compiled of accused, admitted and convicted priests. Sixty five of the accusations were substantiated by the Diocese whereas the other 32 originated from civil sexual abuse lawsuits and media reports. The study did determine that certain areas had higher instances of priests accused of sexual abuse. Those areas include Chicago’s Bridgeport, West Town, Lincoln Park, and Garfield Ridge neighborhoods. The study spanned the assignment of priests from 1917 through 2009. Several churches including Saint Leonard Parish in Berwyn, Saint Aloysius Church in Wicker Park and Saint Christina Parish in Mount Greenwood had multiple accused priests come through their doors.
The study is indicative of an epidemic that has swept through Chicago. Sexual abuse victims often do not know where to turn for recourse. The Klest Law Firm has over twenty nine years of experience advocating on behalf of sexual abuse victims in Chicago and throughout Illinois. To speak with an experienced Chicago area victims’ rights attorney, please click here.