An Illinois attorney general’s office investigation released this week found that 451 Catholic clergy sexually abused nearly 2,000 children in the state over a period spanning nearly 70 years.
These figures are significantly higher than the 103 individuals previously acknowledged by the church when the state’s review began in 2018.
During a press conference, Attorney General Kwame Raoul shared that investigators discovered cases of 1,997 children who had suffered abuse at the hands of Catholic clergy in Illinois between 1950 and 2019.
It is important to note, however, that the statute of limitations has expired in many of these cases, denying the victims the possibility of legal justice. “It is my hope that this report will shine light both on those who violated their positions of power and trust to abuse innocent children, and on the men in church leadership who covered up that abuse,” Raoul said, crediting the accusers for making the review possible. “These perpetrators may never be held accountable in a court of law, but by naming them here, the intention is to provide a public accountability and a measure of healing to survivors who have long suffered in silence.” The comprehensive report outlines the painfully slow response of Illinois church leaders in acknowledging the true extent of the abuse.