Almost 700 clergymen in the US state of Illinois have been accused of sexually abusing children, a far greater number than the Catholic Church had previously disclosed, dealing a new blow to the credibility of the church.
The state’s six Catholic dioceses had publicly identified 185 priests accused of sexually abusing children and had not released the names of at least 500 others, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said Wednesday.
In a scathing statement, the attorney general’s office criticized the Church’s handling of the abuse allegations, saying in some cases the archdioceses did not investigate the allegations at all or did not notify law enforcement or child welfare agencies.
“The preliminary stages of this investigation have already demonstrated that the Catholic Church cannot police itself,” Madigan said.
The Illinois investigation was opened following the release of a probe by the attorney general of Pennsylvania that found…