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Hidden sex abuse files against 30 Chicago priests go public

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Cincinnati.com reports thousands of pages of documents showing how the Archdiocese of Chicago handled the sexual abuse of children by priests will be made public today. These previously hidden documents will include only 30 of 65 priests for whom the archdiocese says it has credible allegations of sexual abuse. The Archdiocese of Chicago, the third largest and one of the most influential in the U.S., handed over last week more than 6,000 pages of documents to victims' attorneys, who said they will show the archdiocese concealed abuse for decades, including moving priests to new parishes where they molested again.

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American Live Wire reports that Cardinal Francis George, who has led the archdiocese since 1997, released a letter to parishioners on January 12 in which he apologized for the abuse and said releasing the records “raises transparency to a new level.” He also stressed that much of the abuse occurred decades ago, before he became archbishop. He said all of the incidents eventually were reported to civil authorities and resulted in settlements with victims.

The Chicago Tribune reports none of the 30 priests are currently in active ministry, some of which are already deceased. Auxiliary Bishop Francis Kane said during a January 15 news conference,

“We have to be so sensitive to the victims. They've endured some great pain, and so it's important for us to be sensitive and to try to help them in ways that will bring healing so they can live a productive good life and they don't have this burden that they're carrying.”

In a January 12 statement released on the archdiocese webpage, they admit "child sexual abuse is a crime and a sin wherever and whenever it occurs." They say when other pending cases are resolved it is likely more documents will be released.

On January 18, the Chicago Tribune reported that the Vatican's Pope Francis will not show leniency towards pedophile priests because truth and justice are more important than protecting the Church, this from the Vatican's former sex crimes prosecutor. The Vatican wants to consider ways to better screen priests, protect minors and help victims in the face of charges. They feel they have not done enough to guard the vulnerable or make amends.

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