Statement of Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, in Response to the Illinois Attorney General Report May 23, 2023
Today, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul published a report (the Report) on his office’s investigation of allegations of child sexual abuse against clergy in the six Illinois Catholic dioceses over a period of nearly 90 years. The Report addresses both how dioceses responded to such allegations in decades past and current policies that help ensure the safety of children and support the healing of survivors. We have not studied the report in detail but have concerns about data that might be misunderstood or are presented in ways that could be misleading. It is therefore important that we state what we know to be true. For example:
The 451 names “disclosed":
We must think first of the survivors of sexual abuse who carry the burden of these crimes through their lives. On behalf of the archdiocese, I apologize to all who have been harmed by the failure to prevent and properly respond to child sexual abuse by clerics. Survivors will forever be in our prayers, and we have devoted ourselves to rooting out this problem and providing healing to victims.
For more than 30 years, the Archdiocese of Chicago has been at the forefront of developing and improving policies and programs to address the scourge of child sexual abuse and to support survivors. Our policies and procedures, first adopted in 1992, have served as a model for organizations and professionals dealing with this difficult issue. I hope the attention drawn to the issue by the Report will encourage those who work with minors to learn from our experience and take steps to protect all children from sexual abuse.
Here are some key facts about our efforts in the Archdiocese of Chicago:
In addition to these steps, the Archdiocese of Chicago fully cooperates with law enforcement, including with the Attorney General’s investigation. We have made our employees available for interviews and provided access to hundreds of thousands of documents. We are committed to continuously reviewing our policies and will carefully consider any changes recommended by the Attorney General. Indeed, the archdiocese has already implemented a number of recommendations the Attorney General made during the course of the investigation such as expansion of the parameters of our website list.
From my earliest days as a bishop, I have dealt with allegations of child sexual abuse by putting the child at the center of my actions. In my experience, whether the abuse happened in the recent or distant past, the survivor speaks from the pain they suffered as that wounded and betrayed child. The Archdiocese of Chicago has long sought to heal them and prevent this crime from occurring again. I am personally committed to applying the highest level of vigilance to these efforts and to further strengthening our safeguards against abuse. I invite other institutions that care for children and civil authorities to join us in this work and consider adopting the procedures we have developed over the past three decades, so that all children are kept safe.