Breaking: Law firm: Priests accused of sex abuse includes DeKalb County ties

March 20, 2019

A report released Wednesday by a Minnesota law firm about Catholic clergy who faced child sex abuse charges in Illinois names several priests with past ties to the DeKalb County area.

“The data reveal the horrifying scale of priests sexually assaulting minors to the present day,” attorneys for Anderson & Associates wrote in their report, accusing the church of an “institutional cover-up of enormous magnitude.”

Almost all of the nearly 400 clergy statewide identified in the report no longer are actively involved in ministry, and most of the people who had served locally had previously been named by the Diocese of Rockford as being those “against whom a substantiated allegation of sexual abuse against a minor has been reported.”

Officials with the Rockford Diocese said in a statement Wednesday that they remain committed to preventing and detecting child abuse, and to assisting victims in healing.

“The practice of the diocese has been to inform the faithful when a priest has been removed from ministry due to a credible allegation of sexual abuse or other inappropriate conduct since before the late 1980s,” the statement said.

The diocese’s list of priests accused of sexual abuse is available online at www.rockforddiocese.org.

However, the 185-page report released by Anderson and Associates contains much more detail about who the accused were, the nature of allegations against them, and approximate times they spent at various churches, schools and other facilities around Illinois and elsewhere.

Several of the priests’ ministry work history also includes gaps of sick, health or unspecified leave lasting a year or more, the report indicated.

“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,” the report states.