Cardinal George to release letter on priest sex abuse allegations
January 7, 2014 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- The Archdiocese of Chicago is preparing a PR war of sorts, trying to get its story out before another round of unflattering information emerges about the handling of priest sex abuse allegations. The cases are not new, but the details are-- and they're expected to reopen old wounds of a church crisis that is yet to pass.
In a letter to be included in church bulletins this weekend, Francis Cardinal George writes: "Publishing for all to read the actual records of these crimes raises transparency to a new level. It will be helpful, we pray, for some, but painful for many."
Victims' attorney Jeff Anderson is one of the attorneys that reached a settlement with the Archdiocese requiring the church to turn over the information. He says it includes internal church documents on 30 accused priests, detailing the claims of dozens of victims, and also church communications detailing transfers of suspected priests.
"What they really do is reveal a systemic pattern of choices being made by top officials to protect reputations, the image of the Archdiocese and to choose to protect offenders at the peril of many children," said Anderson.
The Cardinal's letter to parishioners also includes a detailed account of the handling of Father Dan McCormack, one of the few cases that actually happened on Cardinal George's watch.
The Cardinal writes: "The response, in retrospect, was not always adequate to all the facts, but a mistake is not a cover up."
Last month, the Cardinal reflected on his handling of sex abuse allegations.
"Much of this happened - almost all of it - between 1974-86. I wasn't even in the country at that time so I had to kind of catch up on that. I thought we had and then I'm caught by surprise again," said Cardinal George.
None of the files to be released involves priests currently in ministry. The Cardinal points out, some have died. The archdiocese hands over the files a week from Wednesday.
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