Clergy Abuse Survivors’ Advocates Question Illinois AG’s Private Meeting with Chicago Archbishop

Clergy Abuse Survivors’ Advocates Question Illinois AG’s Private Meeting with Chicago Archbishop

“It sends a discouraging message to survivors,” They Say

They Call on the Attorney General to Renew his Outreach to Witnesses, Whistleblowers and Survivors

WHAT

At a news conference, leaders of two clergy abuse prevention and advocacy organizations will address recent news regarding a private meeting between Chicago’s top Catholic official and Illinois’ Attorney General and will call for a public clarification regarding the current status of the investigation into clergy abuse in Illinois.

WHEN

Friday, August 23 at 10:30 AM

WHERE

On the sidewalk outside the Chicago Archdiocesan Headquarters at 835 N. Rush Street (corner of Rush and Pearson)

WHO

Leadership from two Chicago-area clergy abuse advocacy organizations including the Executive Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests and the Co-Chairmen of the Board of the Archangel Foundation.

WHY

On Wednesday, ABC7 reported that Illinois’ top law enforcement official had a private, one-on-one meeting with Illinois’ top Church official, this even though the actions of the latter are being actively investigated by the former. Now, leaders from two abuse prevention and support organizations are calling for more action and transparency in the state’s investigation into cases of systemic clergy abuse and cover-up.

According to the ABC7 I-team, AG Kwame Raoul met privately with Cardinal Blase Cupich at the Thompson Center two weeks ago. And in a statement that has alarmed abuse advocates, in the wake of that meeting, AG Raoul has said that “there hasn’t been a need” to issue subpoenas in the investigation. 

“It is clear based on the work done by his predecessor – not to mention other attorneys general across the country – that subpoenas are necessary in order to get to the full truth as it relates to cases of abuse and cover-up,” said Zach Hiner, Executive Director of SNAP. “Not only do we know that institutions cannot be counted on to police themselves generally, but we know that the Catholic Church specifically has ‘secret archives,’ as mandated by canon law, in which they hide abuse files in order to keep police and the public from fully grasping the depths of these crimes.”

“We can only question why the attorney general would meet privately with someone he is investigating and then publicly say he doesn’t believe subpoenas are necessary,” said James, Co-chairman of the Board of the Archangel Foundation. “This kind of public statement only discourages survivors, makes them believe their reports won’t matter, and makes us question whether we will get a full look at the scope of clergy abuse in Illinois.”

“Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s preliminary report into clergy abuse in the six Illinois dioceses painted a very clear picture of how church officials in Illinois have underreported incidences of abuse in the past,” said Roman, Co-chairman of the Board of the Archangel Foundation. “While we see that Cardinal Cupich, his archdiocese, and all Illinois dioceses have pledged to cooperate, we hold that the investigation should compel and ensure complete cooperation instead, given the Illinois dioceses’ consistent history of misrepresentation and concealment in the matter of clergy abuse.”

“It is disheartening to see AG Raoul meet behind closed doors with one of the subjects of his office’s investigation, and puzzling why the operational lead of the investigation was not present at the meeting,” stated Mr. Krasnitsky. Mr. Egan added that “It seems dishonest for AG Raoul to assert that Cupich has cooperated fully with the investigation, painting the Cardinal’s actions in a positive light, when AG Madigan’s report appears to show just the opposite to be true.” Mr. Hiner concluded that “AG Raoul must now demonstrate that his office’s investigation has retained its integrity and independence, so that survivors may once again feel comfortable in sharing their stories with his office, as it is the courageous witness of survivors which forms the bedrock of the entire investigation.”

To this end, both Archangel and SNAP are calling on A.G. Raoul and his office to take several steps to assure survivors and the public about the integrity of the investigation. Specifically, they are asking:

  • For an updated report to be released that shows what progress has been made by the investigation since AG Madigan’s report was released in December.
  • The AG office to meet with leaders and survivors from both SNAP and Archangel to hear the perspective of survivors and advocates, not just of the leadership of the Church hierarchy.
  • Renewed outreach attempts from the AG office to get survivors, witnesses and whistleblowers to come forward and make a report to their hotline.

CONTACT: Zach Hiner, Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, 517-974-9009), James Egan, Co-Chairman of the Board (james.egan@archangelfoundationinc.com, 414-510-4069), Roman Krasnitsky, Co-Chairman of the Board (roman.krasnitsky@archangelfoundationinc.com, 312-420-1535) 

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is www.SNAPnetwork.org

(The Archangel Foundation is a Chicago-based non-profit organization which provides resources and support for survivors of Catholic clerical sexual abuse across the world. Our website is www.archangelfoundationinc.com)


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