CHICAGO (AP) — Some newly-released documents are revealing how Catholic Church officials in Chicago worked to hide cases of priests abusing children.
According to the documents, a 13-year-old boy reported in 1979 that a priest raped him and threatened him at gunpoint to keep him quiet. The church then assured the boy's parents that although the priest avoided prosecution, he would get treatment and have no further contact with minors. Instead, the priest was returned to ministry a year later and went on to abuse again.
The documents confirm that for decades, those at the highest levels of the nation's third-largest archdiocese moved accused priests from parish to parish, while hiding their histories from the public. They describe how the late Cardinals John Cody and Joseph Bernardin often approved the reassignments.
The archdiocese removed some priests from the ministry -- but that often didn't happen until years or decades after the clergy were known to have molested children.
The documents were released through settlements between lawyers for the archdiocese and the victims. They cover only 30 of the at least 65 clergy for whom the archdiocese says it has substantiated claims of child abuse.
153-a-06-(Jeff Anderson, attorney for clergy abuse victims, at news conference)-"of systematic secrecy"-Jeff Anderson, attorney for clergy abuse victims, says Chicago's Roman Catholic archbishops have been covering up clergy abuse for decades. (21 Jan 2014)
<<CUT *153 (01/21/14)££ 00:06 "of systematic secrecy"
154-a-12-(Jeff Anderson, attorney for clergy abuse victims, at news conference)-"of forced disclosure"-Jeff Anderson, attorney for clergy abuse victims, says the Archdiocese of Chicago has released documents on 30 priests on which it has substantiated claims of child abuse. (21 Jan 2014)
<<CUT *154 (01/21/14)££ 00:12 "of forced disclosure"
GRAPHICSBANK: Archdiocese of Chicago Coat of Arms, graphic element on gray (21 Jan 2014)
APPHOTO ILCA103: Attorney Jeff Anderson stands next to the files of Catholic priests credibly accused of sexually abusing minors in the Archdiocese of Chicago, prior to a news conference Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, in Chicago. Newly released documents offer the broadest look yet into how one of its largest and most prominent American dioceses responded to the scandal. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) (21 Jan 2014)
<<APPHOTO ILCA103 (01/21/14)££