A.G. Madigan: ‘Prosecution May Be Warranted’ in Clergy Abuse Investigation

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Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is continuing her investigation of the state’s six Roman Catholic dioceses, and now says criminal prosecution is a possibility.

Madigan launched an investigation in August, after a Pennsylvania grand jury report contained “credible” accounts of child sexual abuse incidents committed by over 300 Catholic priests.

The attorney general has been seeking records from Illinois dioceses. She says they should make public the names of priests who have “credible allegations” against them. So far, four of the six dioceses in Illinois have complied, while the other two already had names of priests published.

Madigan says there’s still a lot of information to review.

“It’s become clear that the Catholic Church cannot handle these matters internally. They can’t handle these matters as personnel matters. Crimes were committed.”

The Attorney General’s office is also looking into how sexual abuse allegations are currently handled. Madigan says she wants to hold the Church accountable for wrongdoings, past and present.

"Often times you’ll hear, ‘Well, this happened years ago and these perpetrators aren’t even alive anymore, and so there’ll be no criminal action taken against them.’ It completely ignores the devastation that is caused to victims for a lifetime."

Madigan says hundreds of abuse reports have poured into her office so far thanks to a clergy abuse hotline. When Attorney General-elect Kwame Raoul takes over her job in January, Madigan says she’s confident he’ll continue the work.

Story source: Illinois Public Radio