Chicago and Belleville

Grant Gallicho at Dotcommonweal has been doing an excellent job tracking the latest developments in the Archdiocese of Chicago here and now in the Diocese of Belleville here.  Though you’ll be appalled, it’s essential reading nonetheless, and shows that the sexual abuse crisis is in many places still an open wound.

James Martin, SJ

8 years 9 months ago
Thank you greatly, Jim, for your post here on the still very open wound of sexual abuse as covered up by cardinals and bishops, in this case Cardinal Francis George, head of the USCCB. The point for me is that despite clear and admitted violations of the law mandating reports of allegations to the authorities, George will apparently not be criminally charged. Why this deference that puts clerics above the law? Here is the law: “Any member of the clergy having reasonable cause to believe that a child known to that member of the clergy in his or her professional capacity may be an abused child as defined by law shall immediately report or cause a report to be made to the department.” (325 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 5/4 (West, WESTLAW through 2003 Reg. Sess.) Further, “Any…person required by this Act to report suspected child abuse and neglect who willfully fails to report such shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor for a first violation and a Class 4 felony for a second or subsequent violation.” From a news report last week: “In the investigation of Bennett, the (George) deposition finds the cardinal and church officials received four detailed allegations of sexual abuse dating back to 2002. But they did not act to remove Bennett from his church until 2006, despite two recommendations from the archdiocese review board months earlier, according to the deposition... By the time he was removed, the deposition reveals, more than a dozen allegations had mounted against the priest—a fact the archdiocese failed to tell parishioners and the public.” OR the authorities under the law. This is willfulness in not reporting grossly negligent conduct, but George gets away with everything. Why? I repeat, why?

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