Allegations Surface Against Chicago Area Priest
(For Immediate Release October 3, 2022)
Another allegation of sexual abuse has been levied against a Chicago area priest. We call for transparency from the Archdiocese of Chicago and hope that this news will encourage other survivors of sexual violence to come forward to seek healing and justice.
According to reports, a retired priest named Fr. John Clemens has been accused of sexual abuse in an incident from approximately 50 years ago. While news media covering this story have used that time frame to cast aspersions on the allegation, the reality is that this lapse in time from incident to report is well within the norm based on the scientific fact of delayed disclosure. It can take survivors decades to come forward and report abuse, and we believe this claim should be taken seriously and investigated fully.
To that point, we call on Church leaders in the Archdiocese of Chicago to clarify to whom they reported the allegation. In their statement, Catholic officials say they have reported the allegation to civil authorities, and based on their track record, we believe this likely means they reported the allegation to the Department of Children and Family Services. This is a creative dodge used by the Archdiocese to claim they reported abuse, but in reality, does nothing because DCFS does not investigate historical cases of abuse. This allegation should have been reported to the local police and district attorney’s office, and we call on Cardinal Blase Cupich to be clearer with his words regarding where and when this allegation was reported.
Finally, regardless of what actions the Church has taken, we know that the best way for survivors to heal and protect other children is to make their own reports to law enforcement. We hope that this story will encourage any still-suffering survivors in the Chicagoland area to talk with a trusted friend, family member, or therapist so that they can start healing and find ways to break their silence.
CONTACT: Larry Antonsen, SNAP Leader Chicago ([email protected], 773-255-3382) Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected], 267-261-0578) Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President ([email protected], 814-341-8386) Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for more than 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)