Thursday, October 18, 2018

BREAKING: Sexual Abuse Survivors File Lawsuit Against Every Diocese in Illinois, Ask Judge to Release All Records

At press conference earlier this afternoon, it was announced that four sexual abuse survivors were filing an 11-count lawsuit alleging cover ups and conspiracy against every Catholic diocese in Illinois.

From the Chicago Sun-Times, 2:24 PM CST:
Suit accuses Illinois dioceses of conspiracy; seeks all priest abuse records 
By Sam Charles
Four survivors of sexual abuse by priests filed a public nuisance and conspiracy lawsuit against every diocese in the state Thursday, asking a judge to order the release of all records related to every abusive priest in Illinois. 
Jeff Anderson, one of the attorneys who filed the suit, said the goal was to expose “a conspiracy of silence, a conspiracy of secrecy, a conspiracy of self-protection and scandal-avoidance that is causing a hazard and a danger in real time today.” 
Anderson said the dioceses have long maintained records of abusive priests that are no longer involved in ministry, as well as records of top church officials who were “complicit” in covering up abuses. 
Three plaintiffs chose to identify themselves while the fourth opted to remain anonymous. 
Darin Buckman, one of the three public plaintiffs, said he was sexually assaulted by Father John Anderson of the Peoria Diocese between the late 70s and early 80s when Buckman was between 8 and 14 years old. 
“He took away my manhood and my childhood,” Buckman said at a Thursday press conference, fighting back tears. “I knew I had to come to this so no other one child would be sexually abused again, especially in the Catholic diocese.” 
Buckman said he contacted Anderson and his co-counsel in the case, Marc Pearlman, more than two years ago. Anderson and Pearlman then requested records from the Peoria Diocese but were ignored. 
“You’ve gotta remember, once something like this [happens], what comes [next] is blame. [It’s] my fault,” Buckman said. “Depression, anxiety, alcoholism. It’s part of the avenue of coping with what happened.” 
The 11-count lawsuit alleges negligence, public nuisance, conspiracy, and fraudulent misrepresentation or non-disclosure of facts. Three of the four plaintiffs are also seeking damages. 
The overall goal of the suit, Anderson said, was to bring about the release of all information relevant to the abuse of children by priests in Illinois. 
“To abate the continuing nuisance, Plaintiffs further request an order requiring that each Defendant publicly release the names of all agents, including priests, accused of child molestation, each agent’s history of abuse, each agent’s pattern of grooming and sexual behavior, and his or her last known address,” the suit states. 
The Peoria Diocese, as well as the dioceses of Joliet, Springfield, Rockford and Belleville, did not respond to requests for comment Thursday. 
Read the rest here.

The Archdiocese of Chicago did not directly respond to the allegations but issued a statement that included an lengthy historical review of its own policies and procedures. Here it is in its entirety:
Statement of the Archdiocese of Chicago on Lawsuit Filed Today 
October 18, 2018 
We understand a lawsuit has been filed against the six dioceses in Illinois and the Catholic Conference of Illinois by attorneys Marc Pearlman and Jeff Anderson on behalf of sexual abuse victim-survivors from some Illinois dioceses. We have not had time to review the lawsuit. In 2006, the Archdiocese of Chicago published on its website the names of diocesan priests against whom there were substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse. The list can be found at 
In January 2014, and again in November 2014, the Archdiocese of Chicago released documents from the files of the priests with substantiated allegations of abuse against them listed on its website. Only the names of victims, material that would identify them or material protected by law was redacted in the more than 20,000 pages released. This information contains the details about the abuse the lawsuit seeks. These documents can be found on our website at 
In 1991, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin convened a lay commission to review the Archdiocese of Chicago’s procedures for handling accusations of sexual abuse. 
In 1992, the Archdiocese of Chicago put in place policies and procedures to address allegations and issues related to sexual abuse of minors. It created one of the first offices of Victim Assistance Ministry to provide direct outreach and support to victim-survivors and their families and created an independent office (now known as the Office of Child Abuse Investigations and Review) to receive allegations of abuse of minors by clergy. 
In 1993, the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Independent Review Board was convened to review allegations of abuse and to make direct recommendations on the accused clergy’s fitness for ministry to the archbishop. 
In 2002, the Archdiocese of Chicago adopted the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s Charter for theProtection of Children and Young People, including its “one-strike” rule that removed priests with even one substantiated allegation of child sexual abuse permanently from ministry. Every allegation, regardless of when the abuse is alleged to have occurred, is referred to the civil authorities. 
Building on a decade of experience in handling abuse cases, in 2003, the Archdiocese of Chicago created the Office for the Protection of Children and Youth (OPCY) to bring together the various ministries within the archdiocese that had been operating to ensure the archdiocese is a safe place for children. Its offices work together to stay current on preventing and responding to child sexual abuse. 
Office for Assistance Ministry (OAM) personnel reach out and extend supportive services to victim-survivors from the moment they come forward with an allegation of clergy sexual abuse. This includes traveling throughout the country to meet with and listen to victim-survivors. OAM personnel also provide the opportunity for victim-survivors to receive independent professional counseling from fully accredited therapists. Additionally, OAM personnel have worked in collaboration with victims-survivors to respond to their need for healing. This has led to the development of the Healing Garden, annual Mass for Hope and Healing and Pinwheel Service for Child Abuse Prevention, victim-survivor led peace circles, and the Healing Voices magazine. To date more than 400 victim-survivors and family members have been served by OAM personnel. 
Office of Child Abuse Investigation and Review (CAIR) is headed by a lay professional who provides a compassionate and thorough process for receiving and investigating reports of child abuse against archdiocesan personnel. Archdiocese personnel notify public authorities of all reports of possible abuse of any kind and from any date, regardless of legal requirements.
  • The Director of CAIR serves as staff for the Independent Review Board, which is an advisory board for the Cardinal. The Board’s main charges are ensuring the safety of children and determining a cleric’s fitness for ministry. More than 230 Board meetings have been held. 
Safe Environment Office personnel provide resources to educate archdiocesan clergy, employees and volunteers on how to prevent child sexual abuse, how to recognize sex offender behavior and how to create safe environments for children and youth. 
Since 2003, more than 3,700 training sessions in the archdiocese have been held, training more than 263,000 adults. 
  • Archdiocesan parishes and schools are required to provide valuable training to children and youth on how to recognize, resist, respond and report grooming or abuse.
  • Safe Environment Office personnel also screen, through name-based background checks, all clergy, employees and volunteers. Office personnel also receive and review fingerprint results for school personnel.
  • All employees and volunteers who work with children and youth in the archdiocese must submit a CANTS (Child Abuse and Neglect Tracking Systems) Form.
  • All employees and volunteers in the archdiocese must abide by the archdiocese’s Code of Conduct.
  • The archdiocese requires Mandated Reporter Training for all clergy, school personnel, religious education personnel, youth ministers and coaches as part of the archdiocese’s Safe Environment Compliance. 
Priest Monitoring Program is the Archdiocese of Chicago’s stringent monitoring program of clergy with substantiated cases of sexual abuse against them. These men have been withdrawn from ministry and are prohibited from presenting themselves as priests. They are required to comply with numerous restrictions to provide safety for the community, the program participants, and the Church. 
In 2006, the Archdiocese of Chicago published on its website the names of all diocesan priests against whom there were substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse. The list has been updated as necessary. The list can be found 
In January 2014, and again in November 2014, the Archdiocese of Chicago, released documents from the files of the priests whose names appeared on our website list of men with substantiate allegations against them. Only the names of victims, material that would identify them or material protected by law was redacted in the more than 20,000 pages released. These documents can be found on our website 
In September 2018, Cardinal Cupich called for an independent review of the archdiocese’s policies and procedures and the creation of a Truth and Reconciliation process to heal victim-survivors, their families and the community.


  1. Jeff Anderson, one of the attorneys who filed the suit, said the goal...

    Jeff Anderson's goal is to line his pockets with Catholic money. He is despicable, and I'm being charitable.

    Too bad our Bishops managed to play right into his game, eh?

  2. I'm a Peorian,and the priest mentioned in this post isn't the only one that has gone down in flames. A few months ago, the priest who was the head of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal was suspended from his duties when it was discovered he cruised for gay sex. I don't know if his pick ups were teens or not, and whether he had contacts from non- cruising activities. Incidentally, John Myers used to be our bishop. Some pervo priests were discovered and dismissed during his tenure. Strangely, the victims and their families reported that the bishop acted very coldly toward them during the proceedings. Looking back, I wonder why?