Sexual Abuse in Rockford Diocese

By: Joe Hamilton
By: Joe Hamilton

The Rockford diocese has released a report that acknowledges, sexual abuse of children has occurred within the walls of its churches. The report spans a period of more than 50 years and reveals that three sexual abuse cases of minors have taken place within the diocese.

The Rockford diocese says in publishing this report it is focusing on a very painful reality, but one that it must face and be open about.

From 1950 - 2002 the Rockford Diocese says there have been 32 allegations of sexual abuse of minors by church clergy, but the diocese says they have only been able to substantiate that sexual abuse of children took place in three cases. The report, however, does not reveal who those accused church members are or when the abuse took place. That has some former victims worried.

"How do we know they are telling the whole truth if they won’t reveal the names of these priests?" said Alan Tenczar, from Linkup-Survivors of Clergy Abuse.

The Rockford diocese would not comment on why they will not release names of abusing priests, but the Chicago Arch Diocese did. They say “it is up to each Diocese on what they want to release, "said Diane Dunagan, spokesperson with the Chicago Arch Diocese.

“But the names and dates don't have to be omitted, Dunagan added.

Rockford Bishop Thomas Doran says in a statement. "There has never been one single instance where the diocese maintained a clergyman in parish ministry or permitted him to have access to children after credible charges have been made against him".

Allegations made against the diocese clergy include:

  • Six made against clergy who were not serving in the Rockford Diocese at the time.

  • Five were found to not have any merit.

  • Three were found to be true

  • Fourteen remain unsubstantiated and unproven

Bishop Doran also says he can assure the public that "there is no clergy in the Rockford diocese today who has ever had a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor made against him.

This report only focuses on abuse of minors and does not mention anything about adults. Every registered catholic parishioner in Rockford should be getting copy of the report in their mail box within the next couple of days.

A national report on the scope of sexual abuse in catholic churches throughout the county is due out later next month.

You can view the report by clicking on the link below.

www.rockforddiocese.org/audit/Report.htm


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