Cardinal Blase Cupich said Monday he spoke with Attorney General Lisa Madigan and pledged to cooperate as Madigan's office launches an investigation into clergy abuse prompted by revelations of the Pennsylvania grand jury.
"I assured her of our full cooperation," Cupich told NBC 5. "I said, first of all, we don't mind at all because they have all our documents anyway."
The Cook and Lake County state’s attorneys office has reviewed church files, but the attorney general has not. Madigan said last week she wants to meet with Catholic officials in all six Illinois dioceses after identifying seven priests who served in Illinois from the Pennsylvania report.
Madigan on Monday released a clergy abuse hotline and website to report allegations of sexual abuse by clergy members.
"I encourage anyone in the state who has any information about any sexually inappropriate behavior involving a member of the clergy or church in Illinois to contact my office," Madigan said in a statement.
The hotline, Madigan said, is 1-888-414-7678 and will be answered by trained staff in her office during business hours.
"Messages left on the hotline will be returned if contact information is provided," Madigan said. "People can also send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org. Madigan's office will refer allegations to states' attorneys as appropriate."
A new bombshell memo from Cardinal Carlo Vigano, a former Vatican official assigned to the United States, said that Pope Francis, Benedict and John Paul II were aware of the allegations that Cardinal McCarrick sexually abused seminarians.
Cardinal Cupich served on the Bishops' Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People, at one point the chairman, but said he was not aware of McCarrick allegations until several months ago. Two years ago, Cupich and the Catholic Extension society honored McCarrick, but that award has since been rescinded.
Cupich on Saturday wrote in a letter to parishioners that a popular Chicago priest had been removed from his position after an allegation of “code of conduct violations involving a minor."
Father Gary Graf, pastor of San Jose Luis Sanchez del Rio Parish, is under investigation by the Archdiocese and “agreed to step aside” pending the outcome of the investigation.
“I realize this news comes at a difficult time, especially as you come together as one parish and celebrate your future as a faith community,” Cupich’s letter read. “Please know that I am close to you in prayer. My simple request is that God grant you the grace of patience as we work to evaluate this allegation.”
Graf said “not being able to participate in the ministry hurts me,” but told Telemundo Chicago in Spanish he is “waiting for the investigation to come to an end.”