Bishop Paprocki issues statement following Illinois Attorney General’s report
NEWS: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Andrew Hansen: email@example.com
Springfield, IL – Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois issued the following statement in response to Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul releasing his final report on the history of sexual abuse of minors by some clergy of the Catholic Church in Illinois.
“The Attorney General’s inquiry into the history of clergy sexual abuse of minors in this diocese has served as a reminder that some clergy in the Church committed shameful and disgraceful sins against innocent victim survivors and did damage that simply cannot be undone. As bishop of this diocese, I cannot undo the damages of the past, but I have been and continue to be fully committed to ensuring we do all we can to prevent abuse from happening again. The changes our diocese enacted have proven to be effective as we are not aware of a single incident of sexual abuse of a minor by clergy alleged to have occurred in this diocese in nearly 20 years.
“As difficult as this process has been for all involved, especially the victim survivors, we credit the Attorney General’s office for bringing about greater transparency, and, especially for keeping the spotlight on this issue to help us sustain the vigilance with which we guard against any future threat of abuse. We hope the Attorney General’s office continues this vigilance for creating a safer environment with other institutions, and it doesn’t stop with just the Catholic Church.
“We stand with the other five dioceses in Illinois in the commitments to accountability, transparency, reform, and sustained vigilance. Like the other five dioceses, we report allegations to civil authorities and encourage victim survivors to do the same, and we have a victim assistance ministry and special offices to handle childhood sexual abuse allegations. Our Review Board includes lay professionals with backgrounds in areas such as law enforcement, education, psychology, and medicine. They review and make recommendations to me regarding the withdrawal of clergy. We also conduct robust safe environment abuse prevention programs, which includes background checks for everyone who works and volunteers in the Church. We have also listed all substantiated cases of sexual abuse of a minor by clergy in this diocese on a public website, dio.org/promise.
“Our diocese has a Victim Assistance Coordinator ready to help anyone who has been victimized. I pledge to support victim survivors in any way we can and to sustain vigilance and take all the appropriate measures to prevent any future recurrence.”
The polices for education, prevention, assistance, and determination for fitness for ministry regarding clerical sexual abuse of a minor can be found on the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois’ Safe Environment website by going to this link, which can be found in the policy section of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois’ website (https://dio.org/policy-and-procedures/).