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Accused priests served in most Chicago parishes, critics' study shows

Catholic World News - October 12, 2010

During the past several decades, most of the parishes in the Chicago archdiocese were served, at one time or another, by a priest who was the target of a credible sex-abuse complaint, according to a new study.

The study-- prepared by a coalition of groups critical of Church handling of the sex-abuse crisis—found that priests who have been accused of sexual abuse have served in 60% of Chicago’s parishes. In the mid-1990s, the presence of priests who would eventually be charged reached a peak, including about one-fourth of all Chicago parishes.

A spokeswoman for the Chicago archdiocese said that the report was misleading, insofar as priests who are credibly accused of abuse are no longer in active ministry. But actually the report is a historical study, covering nearly a full century of parish work. The report covers all of Chicago’s parishes—roughly 400—over the period from 1917 through 2009, and traces the assignments of 97 priest who were eventually accused of abuse.

The study was prepared by Voice of the Faithful in cooperation with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the African American Advocates of Clergy Sexual Abuse, and BishopsAccountability.org.

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