Attorneys who represent victims of sexual abuse by priests have released what they say is the most comprehensive list yet of Catholic clergy with ties to Illinois who have been accused of misconduct against children.

The list includes about 400 priests and lay people who at one time served in parishes or schools or otherwise worked in the state, with accusations spanning more than a half-century. That number far exceeds the roughly 200 priests who have already been publicly identified by Illinois’ six Catholic dioceses, including the Chicago Archdiocese.

“The data reveal the horrifying scale of priests sexually assaulting minors to the present day,” the report said. “Perhaps most shocking among the discoveries is that some perpetrators were intentionally transferred and retained in trusted positions with direct access to children even after they were known to sexually abuse children.”

Many of the priests named in the new report have already been publicly identified in news stories and court records, even if they don’t appear on dioceses’ official lists. The dioceses generally used different standards for publicly identifying priests, in some cases omitting clergy when claims against them could not be substantiated or when an allegation was after the priest died.

The new study, called The Anderson Report, takes a broader approach, including any priest, seminarian or religious employee — in some cases of Catholic orders outside the dioceses — who has ever been accused of child sexual abuse, whether or not the claim was found credible or the alleged abuse occurred in Illinois. The authors note that in many cases settlements were paid to victims, but in numerous other cases the alleged abuses were never substantiated in court, sometimes because statute of limitations prevented lawsuits or criminal investigations from moving forward.

The report said its authors believe “that the Dioceses in Illinois have not publicly made available the full histories and their knowledge of their sexually abusive agents and employees.” The release, they said, “is intended to raise awareness about the important issue of sexual abuse, provide the public with vital information … and provide awareness and healing to survivors of sexual abuse.”

Still, the new report cites a much smaller number than the 690 priests that then-Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said her office identified in its own investigation last year into priest sex abuse. Madigan began looking into priest sexual abuse after a report in Pennsylvania revealed widespread abuse and cover-ups not before known.

Madigan’s preliminary report was critical of the Illinois dioceses’ handling of abuse allegations, saying their investigations were sometimes flawed and lacked transparency, but her office did not release a full list of accused priests.

The victims’ advocates who released Wednesday’s new report, attorneys Jeff Anderson and Marc Pearlman, said at the time that they would release their own list of names — as they have in other areas of the country — if Illinois officials did not make their own list public.

Madigan’s successor, Kwame Raoul, issued a statement before he took office in January saying he remained committed to continuing the probe. His office has not released further information on the inquiry, citing the ongoing investigation.

The report aims to expose the full scope of clergy abuse within the Catholic Church and provide support for people who have been victimized. It also seeks to provide more information on possible perpetrators as the Illinois attorney general’s office continues its own investigation. And it aims to paint a fuller picture of which parishes accused priests worked in over the course of their careers.

John O’Malley, who serves as special counsel to the Chicago Archdiocese on misconduct issues, said the church has reported all allegations to law enforcement since 1992 when Cardinal Joseph Bernardin led a commission on the scandal. In 2002, U.S. Bishops adopted the policy nationwide.

“If the public authorities choose not to prosecute or can’t prosecute, we then have our own investigative process,” O’Malley said Wednesday. “If, as a result of the public authorities, or if as a result of our own process, an allegation is substantiated, it has been posted on our website with a description since 2006.”

The sex abuse scandal has roiled the church for decades, but it received renewed attention last year after a sweeping grand jury report in Pennsylvania identified more than 300 predator priests. In response to the report, Madigan had launched her own investigation in August.

In December, Madigan said her preliminary findings indicated that 690 clergy members were accused of abuse, but the Illinois Dioceses had only identified 185 clergy at that time as having been “credibly accused.” Some names have since been added to some of those public lists and some Catholic religious orders, including the Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus, a Jesuit order, released their own lists of accused priests, brothers or lay people around the time Madigan’s preliminary findings were unveiled.

Madigan’s bombshell report also found that Illinois dioceses did not investigate cases in many instances, including in some cases if a lawsuit had been filled, when a victim wanted to remain anonymous, when only one complainant came forward or if the clergy member had previously resigned. In cases where the claim involved clergy who were visiting from a religious order, the allegations were often referred to the order, rather than being investigated by the diocese, the Madigan report said.

O’Malley disputed that finding as it applied to the Chicago Archdiocese, saying all allegations had been forwarded to law enforcement over nearly three decades. He acknowledged the possibility that oversights occurred in other Illinois dioceses.

On Wednesday, Raoul’s office released a statement saying, it “will review any new information that could be relevant” for the ongoing investigation.

The list of credibly accused clergy members provided by the Chicago Archdiocese also does not include the names of clergy members if an allegation surfaced after the accused had died. The archdiocese may also not include a name if the priest was listed by a different diocese.

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