ILLINOIS (WCIA) — The startling grand jury report unveiling decades of child abuse within Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic Church just got closer to home.
Seven of the more than 300 priests accused of sexually abusing roughly 1,000 children in Pennsylvania, have ties to Illinois.
The groundbreaking discovery prompted Attorney General Lisa Madigan to investigate.
The report states almost all of the seven men had, at one point in their careers, been transferred to churches in the Chicago area. One abuse victim was identified as being from Illinois.
Records show the men were transferred between the 1960s to as recently as 2003. In one case, a priest served in Chicago off-and-on for three decades.
What these men are accused of is hard to stomach. So bad, in one case, the victims took their own lives. It’s the outcome of a massive, systemic cover-up.
Now, this week, Madigan announced she’ll be interviewing dioceses around the state, staring with Chicago’s archdiocese.
In a statement she said she has a moral obligation to provide parishioners and the public a complete and accurate accounting of all sexually inappropriate behavior involving priests in the state.
Many are glad to hear it. Already, the Archdiocese of Chicago says it will cooperate with the interviews.
A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Springfield says they haven’t heard from the AG’s office yet, but plan to cooperate.
In her statement, Madigan also says she’ll reach out to local state’s attorney’s offices or law enforcement if a diocese does not cooperate. The AG’s office isn’t placing a label of “investigation” on it just yet.
Here’s a full list of the 7 accused with ties to Illinois:
Rev. Chester “Chet” Gawronski, pages 73-79.
·Father Raymond Lukac, pages 133-139.
·Rev. Gregory P. Furjanic, page 408.
·Father Jerry (John) Kucan, pages 429-431.
·Brother Edmundus Murphy, page 445.
·Rev. James E. Somma, pages 762-764.
·Rev. Robert E. Spangenberg, pages 766-767.
Thursday, Missouri’s Attorney General announced he’s launching a statewide investigation into the Catholic Church. The Archdiocese of St. Louis pledged to cooperate fully.