CHICAGO (AP) — Victims of childhood sexual abuse by priests vowed to keep pushing for more information on how allegations were handled by the Archdiocese of Chicago and other Catholic orders, and are encouraging other victims to come forward.
More than 6,000 pages of internal church documents posted online Tuesday by attorneys showed how officials at the highest level of the nation’s third-largest archdiocese tried to contain the scandal, including by moving accused priests from parish to parish while hiding their histories from the public.
But the documents, released through settlements between attorneys for the archdiocese and victims, cover only 30 of the at least 65 clergy members for whom the archdiocese says it has substantiated claims of child abuse.
St. Paul, Minn., attorney Jeff Anderson said he will push for documents involving the other 35 archdiocese priests.
“This is a great step, but what is settled is far from what we’re shooting for,” Anderson said Tuesday at a news conference. Archdiocese officials have said they’ll review and develop a process to release documents on those 35 other cases.
Angel Santiago, who was abused in the 1980s by one of the 30 priests singled out in the documents, said he hopes more victims of abuse come forward.
“These files here represent a lot for us survivors. For some of us it will be answers, for some of us it will be peace of mind … for all of us, it’s a start,” Santiago said. “And the more that we find more survivors, the stronger we get and we can get more files out of the archdiocese.”
Other victims said they also want the Church to release documents on abusive clergy in other religious orders in the Chicago area.
David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, called on Cardinal Francis George to “discipline or demote and denounce and even defrock some of the members of his staff who are responsible for these individuals being hurt and … at a minimum turned a blind eye to these horrific crimes and worse, concealed those crimes and enabled more crimes just like them.”
He also said some priests who abused in the Chicago archdiocese are working elsewhere now.