A Roman Catholic Brother who served at LaSalle Manor near Plano in the earl 1970s was among the nearly 400 clergy members and church staffers accused of sexual misconduct in a report published Wednesday, March 20, by a Minnesota-based law firm.
"The data reveal the horrifying scale of priests sexually assaulting minors to the present day," attorneys for Jeff Anderson & Associates wrote in their report, accusing the church of an "institutional cover-up of enormous magnitude."
Virtually all of the nearly 400 clergy statewide identified in the report no longer are actively involved in ministry, and most previously had been identified as having "a substantiated allegation of sexual abuse" against them by church officials.
The lone clergy member identified in the report with a Kendall County connection was the late Brother John Moriarty, a former member of the Brothers of The Christian Schools who joined the Midwest District of DeLaSalle Christian Brothers in 1951.
According to the report, Moriarty's first known assignment was at LaSalle Manor near Plano from 1970 to 1973. After he left his assignment at LaSalle Manor, the report indicated that he worked in California, Oregon and East Africa. The report notes that he was accused in a 2003 lawsuit of having sexually abused a 17 year-old boy from 1975 and 1976 at the Christian Brothers Retreat House in St. Helena, Calif., where he was assigned from 1974 to 1978. In 2005, Moriarty was reported to have been living at the Wounded Brothers Project in Missouri. He died in 2013. His whereabouts and whether he had access to children in the years prior to his death are unknown, the report notes.
The Diocese of Joliet, which includes Kendall County, issued a statement Wednesday noting that the information contained in the Anderson & Associates report appears to have been "previously available through the diocese's website or other publicly available sources online or through court filings."
The statement continues: "Importantly, the Diocese of Joliet reports all allegations of child sexual abuse to law enforcement authorities and, in cases involving victims who are still minors, to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. All of the allegations reflected on Mr. Anderson’s list which were made to the Diocese of Joliet have already been reported to law enforcement authorities. Additionally, the Diocese of Joliet website contains a list of living and deceased diocesan priests who have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse. This list has appeared on the website since 2006. All credibly accused priests have been removed from ministry. The dates of such removal and the status of the priest are also listed on the website."
The statement continues: "In addition to those priests already listed on our website, the list published by Attorney Anderson includes the names of some diocesan priests, living and deceased, who have been accused of abuse, but the claim was unsubstantiated or deemed not credible by the Diocese of Joliet Review Board, or the claim did not involve child abuse. In addition to the investigation and conclusion by the Diocese of Joliet Review Board, each of these claims was forwarded to the civil authorities for investigation and potential prosecution.
"The list includes a number of priests, living and deceased, who, at one time or another provided some ministry within the Diocese of Joliet at some point during their priesthood, but are not priests of the Diocese of Joliet. These include priests belonging to religious orders, and those visiting from another diocese."
The statement concludes: "The Diocese of Joliet continues to express its genuine regret and profound sympathy to any victims and survivors of sexual abuse by clergy in the Diocese of Joliet and elsewhere. We are committed to promoting the healing and reconciliation of survivors, and the protection of our children today. We encourage any interested party to visit the website for the Diocese of Joliet Office of Child & Youth Protection athttp://www.dioceseofjoliet.org/youthprotection. The website includes information regarding diocesan policies and procedures for working with minors, directions for reporting abuse, frequently asked questions, and a list of all credible/substantiated allegations against any diocesan priest, which has been continually updated since its first publication in 2006."