A report released by the Illinois Attorney General’s Office on Tuesday found that more than 450 Catholic clergy in Illinois have sexually abused nearly 2,000 children since 1950.
The report, which was the result of a four-year investigation, found that the Catholic Church had covered up the abuse for decades and had failed to protect children.
Attorney General Kwame Raoul said that the report was “a heartbreaking reminder of the pain and suffering that so many children have endured at the hands of those who were supposed to protect them.”
However, Raoul said that the report is unlikely to lead to criminal charges against the Catholic Church.
“The statute of limitations has expired in many of these cases,” Raoul said. “And even in cases where the statute of limitations has not expired, it may be difficult to prove that the Church knew about the abuse and failed to act.”
The report has sparked outrage among survivors of clergy abuse and their families.
“This report is a slap in the face to all of the survivors of clergy abuse,” said David Clohessy, the national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). “It is clear that the Catholic Church is still more interested in protecting its own reputation than it is in protecting children.”
The report is also likely to have a significant impact on the Catholic Church in Illinois.
Raoul said that the report will be used to “hold accountable those who have harmed children.” He also said that the report will be used to “ensure that the Catholic Church takes steps to prevent future abuse.”