Nearly 60 percent of Chicago's Roman Catholic parishes have had a priest publicly accused of sexually abusing a child, according to a report released by three advocacy groups.
The report, released Monday by Voice of the Faithful, African American Advocates for Victims of Clergy and Sexual Abuse, and the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), revealed that that 97 priests have been publicly accused of sexual abuse in Chicago from 1917 to 2009.
"But the key word is 'publicly accused,'" SNAP founder and President Barbara Blaine said in a statement. "History, psychology and common sense tell us there are dozens and dozens of other offending nuns, seminarians, brothers, priests, bishops and lay employees who have molested or are molesting kids now whose identities are not known. And both groups of child molesters -- known and unknown -- have been at or worked at the 40% of the Chicago parishes that don't seem to have been affected."
Over the course of five years, the groups pored over information contained in The Official Catholic Directory and the Boston-based bishopaccountability.org, which chronicles the abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church.
In some cases, the groups discovered, the same parish employed multiple accused priests throughout the years.
A heavy concentration of the priests were found to be at churches in the Bridgeport, West Town, Lincoln Park and Garfield Ridge neighborhoods, the Chicago Tribune noted.
Church officials said they haven't seen the study and question some of its results.
From the description of what we have heard, it appears that the analysis and conclusions are questionable," said Colleen Dolan, the Director of Communication and Public Relations for the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Dolan said that all of the Archdiocesan priests who have had "credible accusations of clerical sexual abuse of a minor have been listed on the Archdiocese of Chicago's web site www.archchicago.org since 2006."
The Huffington Post has a document purported to be the raw data from the Voices of the Faithful study (.xls). It's said to include the names of priests and information on where and when they were employed by the Archdiocese.