‘A Moral Obligation': Illinois AG to Meet With State's Archdioceses Over Priest Abuse

Attorney General Lisa Madigan plans to meet with all the dioceses in Illinois and expects the bishops to fully cooperate or she’ll investigate them.

On the heels of the church sex abuse scandal in Pennsylvania: Illinois' attorney general promises a similar investigation here--not only in Chicago, but statewide.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced Thursday she will meet with the Chicago Archdiocese.

This comes after a Pennsylvania grand jury report identified seven priests with connections to Illinois -- including the Chicago Archdiocese.

"Over 1,000 child victims were identified by our investigation," Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. "Though the grand jury notes that they believe that that number was in the thousands."

Madigan says she’s reviewed that report which identifies the priests with Illinois connections.

“The Catholic Church has a moral obligation to provide its parishioners and the public a complete and accurate accounting of all sexually inappropriate behavior involving priests in Illinois," she said.

She plans to meet with all the dioceses in Illinois and expects the bishops to fully cooperate or she’ll investigate them.

“We have been contacted by the Illinois attorney general and look forward to discussing our policies and procedures related to misconduct issues with her and her office," the Chicago Archdiocese said in a statement. "We have worked cooperatively with the Cook County and Lake County state’s attorneys for many years."

The St. Louis Archdiocese agreed to voluntarily open records of sex abuse for the Missouri attorney general’s investigation.

"While we don't know the protocols yet that the attorney general's office will use, any files that they want to see will be available to them," said St. Louis Archbishop Rober James Carlson.

Shapiro says the grand jury investigation uncovered secret church files.

“In each diocese, the bishops had the key to the secret archives, which contained both allegations and admissions of the abuse and the cover up," he said.

Asked if if the Chicago Archdiocese has any secret archives to show the Illinois attorney general, the religious institution's response was vague.

The archdiocese didn’t specifically answer — instead saying "it’s been working with the state’s attorney for years."

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