IL - Victims “out” 2 more abusive clerics

Cases settle against a nun and a priest

Both abused kids elsewhere but worked in Chicago

SNAP blasts Catholic officials for “on-going secrecy”

It urges Cardinal George to add names to his predators’ list

Group also praises governor & lawmakers for “major child sex reform law” 


Holding signs and childhood photos, clergy sex abuse survivors and their supporters will

--disclose that two Catholic clerics – a nun and a priest – molested kids elsewhere but also worked in Chicago, (lawyers settled cases against both of the clerics,) and

--prod Chicago Catholic officials to add their names (and dozens of other child molesting clerics) to the list of such offenders on the archdiocesan website and update the list of Chicago area child molesting clerics regularly and publicly.

They will also

--praise Illinois’ governor and legislators for recently-enacted “major child safety reform” that will enable more child sex abuse victims to file criminal and civil cases against predators, and

--urge citizens, especially Catholics, to spread the word about the opportunity to seek justice in court.


Wednesday, Nov. 20, 1:30 p.m.


On the sidewalk outside of the Archdiocese of Chicago (835 N Rush St, Chicago)


Three-four members of a support group called SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), including a Chicago woman who is the organization’s founder and president.


Catholic officials have paid settlements to victims of two credibly accused child molesting clerics who worked in Chicago. Both clerics were exposed as abusers for the first time. Neither cleric has been publicly “outed” in the Chicago area until today.

1. In September, Fr. Victor Phelan was “named publicly as an alleged abuser for the first time” according to the Associated Press.

Fr. Phelan was “outed” by Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian (617-523-6250, 617-388-5252, [email protected]). Garabedian reached a settlement with Catholic officials on behalf of a victim who was sexually assaulted by Fr. Phelan in Plainfield NJ in the Newark Archdiocese in 1977.

Fr. Phelan was ordained in 1971 and was in Chicago in 1977 and 1978, according to the Official Catholic Directory. He also worked in two African nations:  Burkina Faso and Ghana. Phelan belongs to a Catholic religious order called the Society of Missionaries in Africa (a.k.a. “the White Missionaries”). His full work history is here:

2.  As part of a civil abuse lawsuit settlement, Sister Agnes Santomassimo was exposed as a sex offender who molested in California. She worked twice at the now-shuttered St. Francis Xavier Cabrini Hospital in Chicago (from 1950 to 1952 as the Accounting and Personnel Director and from 1964 to 1965 in the Admitting Office). She also worked as a kindergarten teacher and supervisor of young girls.

In July, as part of a $660,000,000 settlement in Los Angeles, two pages of her personnel file were made public and were posted here:

Sr. Agnes’ victim was represented by Los Angeles attorney Ray Boucher (310-854-4444, [email protected]).

Earlier this week, USA Today published the following article about women perpetrators and the double standard seen when they abuse boys. The double standard “not only minimizes the victimization of young boys, who are left with lifelong emotional scars, but contributes to lighter sentences for the women involved.”

The whereabouts of Fr. Phelan are not known, but it seems Sr. Agnes died on September 7, 2005.

SNAP wants Cardinal Francis George to add the two clerics to his list of 65 proven, admitted and credibly accused Chicago child molesting clerics.

SNAP also wants George, for the safety of children, to regularly and publicly update that list. (The Chicago archdiocesan list of predators was posted only because victims insisted he do this as part of a settlement. It apparently hasn’t been modified since 7/19/11, according to

3. SNAP is also drawing attention to two new Illinois laws that gives child sex abuse victims more time to take legal action. The new measures remove the statute of limitations in both criminal and civil law for crimes of sex abuse against children.

--The criminal law (House Bill 1063, Public Act 98-379) “removes the statute of limitations on filing charges of sexual assault or abuse when the victim was younger than 18 and when there is either corroborating physical evidence or evidence that a mandated reporter knew about the crime but failed to notify authorities.”

--The civil law (Senate Bill 1399, Public Act 98-276) removes the civil statute of limitations for sexual abuse against children so victims will be able to file a case to expose predators and those who enable them whenever the victim is able.

Both laws make Illinois safer as the previous ones prevented most victims from exposing the predators because it takes so long to overcome the effects of child sex abuse.  

SNAP credits and thanks ICASA, the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault (217-753-4117, [email protected], [email protected]) for leading the effort to reform the statute of limitations.


Barbara Blaine 312-399-4747, [email protected]

Barbara Dorris 314 503 0003, [email protected]

David Clohessy 314 566 9790, [email protected]

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant