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1615 W. Washington St., Springfield, IL 62702

Office for Communications


October 18, 2018

For more information:
Marlene Mulford: Office:(217) 698-8500
Cell: (217) 622-4996
Email: mmulford@dio.org

Statement from the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois Regarding Lawsuit Filed by Jeff Anderson and Associates


SPRINGFIELD - A lawsuit filed in Cook County, Illinois, yesterday and announced publicly today against all of the Catholic dioceses in Illinois, including the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, visibly displayed the emotional and physical harm and long-suffering of victims of abuse by clergy, reminding us all of the vigilance and urgency with which we need to treat the issue of abuse by clergy. However, the announcement today claimed that the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois has failed to acknowledge this evil, seeking to hide claims of abuse in secrecy and protecting the abusers.  This claim is false. 

In fact, the specific case discussed in today’s announcement involving the Diocese of Springfield was thoroughly investigated and reported to civil authorities. The diocese shared the details of the complaint with then Sangamon County State’s Attorney John Schmidt. More broadly, beyond the specific case referred to in this lawsuit, the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois has already been working cooperatively with the Illinois Attorney General’s office to respond to requests for information relating to past and present practices of handling allegations of sexual abuse of minors by church personnel. This includes our history of informing local civil and law enforcement authorities of abuse claims, the taking of reports, investigating these claims as fully as possible, and the review of these allegations by the Diocesan Review Board, the majority of whose members are lay people not employed by the diocese. It also includes compliance with the standards set by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for external audits of policies and procedures, mandatory reporting of claims, and background checks of all school personnel, priests, deacons, candidates for priesthood, and volunteers. 

Today’s announcement also personally accused Bishop Paprocki of negligence in these matters and grossly mischaracterized his view of the evil nature of abuse cases.  Bishop Paprocki has repeatedly acknowledged that the horrible acts of abuse, and the negligence with which some leaders have handled them, are evil. He reiterates this point of view today, saying: “To see the pain and suffering of victims of abuse and the scandal they have created for all the faithful and to fail to see the work of the devil in it is to be blind to the full force of evil being inflicted.” He added, “In fact, to see the source of this activity properly is to understand clearly the gravity of the acts committed by those complicit in it.”

We encourage anyone with information about a case of abuse to contact the Diocese’s Child Abuse Reporting and Investigation number at (217) 321-1155. Allegations of clerical sexual abuse of minors are investigated and examined by a Review Board composed predominantly of lay people not employed by the diocese. Individuals may also contact the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services Child Abuse Hotline at 1(800)-25-ABUSE.