In a statement,
the Cardinal said that “This is a tragedy for the children, for their
families and all who are involved. But it also represents failures
within the Archdiocese to react promptly and appropriately to what
happened in these cases.”
He stressed that “Sexual abuse or molestation of a child by any adult is disordered. It is a sin and a crime.”
or young people”, he added, “are robbed of their innocence and suffer
the pain, anguish and anxiety caused by the illegal and immoral actions
of a priest, a person of trust, the tragedy of sexual abuse is
pointed out however, that the archdiocese’s Father Daniel McCormack
“has been arrested and charged with sexually abusing three children”
and that the Church is continuing to look into additional accusations
by more families.
“It is up to the
legal process now to determine innocence or guilt on the part of Father
McCormack,” he said, “but we have tried to examine our own actions and
“We are here
today”, he went on, “to report to the people of the community on how we
intend to move forward to further strengthen our commitment to the
protection and safety of children.”
also said that he has asked Chancellor Jimmy Lago, “an expert in child
welfare, to take a hard look at what went wrong and to implement
In is his statement, the Cardinal also wished to share some personal thoughts.
“For the many
missteps in responding to the accusations of sexual abuse of minors by
Father McCormack,” he said, “I accept responsibility.”
“For the tragedy
of allowing children to be in the presence of a priest against whom an
accusation of sexual abuse had been made,” he continued, “I am truly
sorry. I should have focused more clearly on the actions we needed to
take and I should have taken them more quickly.”
following the advice of our independent Professional Responsibility
Review Board to remove Father McCormack temporarily, even without a
judgment about his actions,” he added, “I am deeply sorry.”
stressed his commitment “to a full disclosure of the facts and to the
implementation of deliberate, meaningful changes to do all in our power
to ensure that such events never happen again”.
report showed a widespread breakdown in communications within the
Archdiocese. For example, a priest charged with molesting three boys
had been accused years before of having questionable conduct with a
minor while he was in the seminary and was still allowed to be
The report was
based on investigations conducted by two outside consultants and an
internal review. It noted that the archdiocese's failure to follow its
own procedures put children in harm's way and may have violated
discovered that various archdiocese departments responsible for dealing
with abuse allegations failed to communicate. Likewise, the archdiocese
didn't seem to follow its own procedures and at one point, determined
that a policy of monitoring priests accused of sex crimes would be
investigations were sparked by allegations against Fr. McCormack. He
pleaded not guilty earlier this month to aggravated criminal sexual
abuse charges and is accused of molesting three boys between September
2001 and January 2005.
According to the
Associated Press, officials at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in
Mundelein were told that Fr. McCormack acted inappropriately with two
adult males and one adult minor in 1992, according to the report.
McCormack was ordained in 1994.
Jim Dwyer, a
spokesman for the Archdiocese said that all the information in the
report has now been turned over to prosecutors, who will decide if
penalties should be imposed on the church or its employees.
interview with Jay Levine of Chicago’s CBS 2 news, Cardinal George
admitted his devastation at the consultant’s report.
"You read it, and you weep," he said.
Asked if the
review board was upset that he did not follow its recommendation, the
Cardinal said, "Of course. Sure, I would be too, and I understand that.
I wish I had taken their precautionary advice."
clearly shaken, he told Levine, "When I pray, I think about the faces
of children abused by priests…And those are intense moments, and I ask
the Lord to protect them."
McCormick, Cardinal George lamented, "Police let him go free, and I
misunderstood that to mean that they thought he wasn't a danger. I
think now as I've been told by lawyers and others, it doesn't mean
that, but it was certainly in my mind at the time. I didn't think he
was a danger."
The full report,
presented by Defenbaugh & Associates, Inc., is available at the
Archdiocese of Chicago's web site:
Archdiocese of Chicago released the disturbing findings of their
"Report on Clerical Sexual Abuse of Minors Findings and Solutions"
yesterday. In response to the wide-sweeping, independent probe,
Cardinal Francis George said that he was “deeply troubled.”