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Paper Trail of Tears: Church Role in Abuse Cases Aired

Posted on in In the News

USA TODAY

A paper trail of sexual misconduct involving 30 priests and the Archdiocese of Chicago's slow and clumsy handling of the cases is revealed in thousands of pages of documents released online Tuesday.

Lawyer Chris Hurley, whose firm represents more than a dozen people pressing abuse suits against the archdiocese, said accusations against the priests were well known before the documents' release.

"What the archdiocese had not let us know about is how much they knew all along," Hurley said.

Some of the allegations came to light under Cardinal Francis George, archbishop since 1997. Rev. Daniel McCormack, a teacher and basketball coach at Our Lady of the Westside, confessed in 2007 to sexually abusing five boys. He was sentenced to five years in prison. The next year, the archdiocese agreed to pay $12.6 million to 16 victims of sexual abuse by priests, including McCormack.

However, files on McCormack were not released; they have been sealed by a judge because of pending court cases. The church released documents involving less than half of the 65 priests it has acknowledged faced substantiated abuse claims.

"They have hand-picked 30 priests, but if they really are all about redemption and forgiveness they should release documents involving all the priests," Hurley said.

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