An estimated 6,000 pages of documents containing details of sexual abuse allegations made against 30 priests in the Chicago area, which was handed over last week by the Chicago Archdiocese to lawyers, will be released online Tuesday.
“Publishing for all to read the actual records of these crimes raises transparency to a new level,” Cardinal Francis E. George, who has been the archbishop of Chicago since 1997, said in a letter to parishes earlier in January, the New York Times reported. “It will be helpful, we pray, for some, but painful for many.”
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, which is reportedly one of the largest in the U.S., had provided the documents -- which contain details of abuse and the action taken, or not, by the church in response to complaints -- to the lawyers of victims last Wednesday.
Most of the abuse occurred before 1988 and there were none after 1996, Associated Press reported citing officials, and quoted Debra Brian, a 24-year-old Catholic from Chicago, as saying:
"Hopefully it will help people come forward."
According to a lawyer for the archdiocese cited by the Times, 14 of the 30 accused priests are dead, and none is still serving in the ministry. And, the Archdiocese of Chicago -- the third largest in the nation -- has paid about $100 million to settle abuse allegations against priests, according to the Times.
According to Peter Isely, the Midwest director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, it is important for all Chicago-area Catholics to read the documents.
“This is about a part of their story as Chicago Catholics that … has been systematically hidden,” Isely told AP.