Once again, the public has shined a harsh light on sexual abuse in the Catholic community. According to files released by Chicago’s archdiocese, the church has engaged in decades of protecting priests accused of sexual abuse while shrouding the facts in systematic secrecy. For the young victims of this abuse, their nightmare seems to have no end as justice continues to remain out of reach.
Contingent as a component of the settlement awarded in a sexual abuse case, the released files allegedly indicate that the Chicago archdiocese knew about many of the sexual abuse allegations naming a deceased Chicago priest. These documents also apparently reveal that victims reported this priest and others were members of a club that routinely participated in child sexual abuse.
One victim claims church leaders have known all along about the abuse, choosing to shuffle the priests from one parish to another in an attempt to protect the church’s image instead of protecting the children and families of the church. This same victim claims he tried to report the sexual assault to Chicago police but was ridiculed and called a liar.
In 1991, a memo appeared in the accused priest’s file claiming the sex crime allegations against him were “well-founded” but a year later, cook County’s sex crimes division released a letter announcing the end of the investigation. The police never filed any charges against the accused priest.
The decades-long events of this case took place in Chicago’s crime-ridden Englewood subdivision where it is especially hard to get the proper attention for sex crimes of this magnitude. While most of the victims in this case are African American, these events highlight the need for church leaders and courts to administer justice to priests who violate the world’s youth regardless of their skin color. When help seems far away and justice feels completely out of reach, sometimes a victim’s only recourse is to seek help from an experienced sexual abuse attorney.
Source: Frost Illustrated, “An ‘open secret’: Catholic sexual abuse in black community” Ashahed M. Muhammad, Mar. 06, 2014