Three men and one woman who say they were sexually abused by priests decades ago filed a lawsuit against every diocese in Illinois for an alleged ongoing scheme to cover up sexual assault by priests.
The lawsuit was filed in Chicago by attorney Jeff Anderson, who has represented clergy abuse victims across the country, and seeks to compel dioceses throughout Illinois to provide the names of all their priests accused of child molestation.
“Defendants have, for decades, and continue to adopt policies and practices of covering up criminal activity…(that) have endangered numerous children in the past and these practices will continue to put children at risk in the future,” reads the lawsuit against all six dioceses in Illinois, as well as the Catholic Conference of Illinois.
While the lawsuit does seek damages and only claims instances of abuse against children in three dioceses — Rockford, Peoria and Springfield — all of them have been and continue to cover up clergy sexual abuse, Anderson said.
He added that a key goal of the suit is to force each diocese to make public the names of all priests, living and dead, accused of child molestation. He pointed to a similar lawsuit filed in Minnesota that eventually forced the Archdiocese of St. Paul to add dozens of names to the list of credibly accused priests.