To the Editor:
In the wake of the shocking Pennsylvania Grand Jury report which revealed that 301 priests sexually abused more than a thousand children, Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced that her office would investigate Catholic dioceses in Illinois in pursuit of “a complete and accurate accounting of all sexually inappropriate behavior involving priests in Illinois.”
We applaud this decision and her desire for truth, transparency, and accountability. Justice must be pursued.
We also want to encourage the attorney general not to stop there. Prior to the Pennsylvania revelation, the Chicago Tribune published a deeply disturbing report exposing similar abuses of our children in Chicago Public Schools. This report revealed that more than 520 cases of juvenile sexual assault took place in Chicago’s public schools over the past ten years. That is an average of one per week.
How many cases were prosecuted? Which cases were covered up and by whom? How many predators are still working in our schools and have access to our students? How many cases were not reported?
If the Pennsylvania scandal is the catalyst for an investigation in Illinois — and we agree that it should be — shouldn’t the Chicago Tribune exposé be the impetus for an investigation of all school districts in Illinois going back further than a decade?
Years of concealing crimes, ignoring victims and protecting abusers isn’t unique to one institution. All crimes against children demand a full accounting. Predators must be exposed, prosecuted and removed from positions of power that provide access to minors.
David E. Smith
Director of Operations
Illinois Family Institute