A law firm specializing in childhood sexual abuse has compiled a report on victims of Catholic clergy in Illinois and found nearly 400 clergy members were credibly accused or actually convicted over several decades.
The Anderson Report – named after the law firm that compiled it – found 395 priests, deacons, seminarians and others connected to any of the six dioceses in Illinois accused of sexual misconduct of minors.
Catholic Citizens of Illinois Vice President Kevin White stressed that there are still many layers of the onion left to peel back.
"The data reveal the horrifying scale of priests sexually assaulting minors to the present day and finds ‘the scope of the problem of clergy sexual abuse of minors in Illinois is significantly more extensive than the Illinois Dioceses have reported,’" White informed.
A major objective of the report is to understand what truly went on to prevent any further abuses from occurring within the Catholic Church.
“Many of us think that it goes far beyond just documenting the past abuses that have occurred,” White explained, “It also goes into how our seminaries are forming our priesthood, and whether or not whatever issue there was in the seminaries has actually been addressed.”
White was then asked whether Catholics in the Land of Lincoln are satisfied with the way the Catholic Church is handling the abuse crisis.
“We're neither satisfied nor dissatisfied because we don't really understand what they're doing,” the Catholic leader answered. “We're not probably prepared as Catholics to assume that they're deliberately trying to slow-walk this, or to hide anything.”
Amidst all the probes and inquiries, there are still some facts the Catholic Church is slow in acknowledging.
“It's commonly believed among devout Catholics that the church is not confronting the reality of the statistics on the victims of clerical abuse,” White maintained. “Eighty (80) percent of these are male and are older than what we typically consider as 'children.'”
Going into greater detail, White pointed out that most of the perpetrators are not pedophiles, but homosexuals in the church grooming and targeting victims.