Chicago Archdiocese adds 10 names to list of clergy with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse

Chicago Tribune/November 29, 2018

By Kayli Plotner and Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas

The Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago has added 10 names to the list of clergy with substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse — a move Attorney General Lisa Madigan says was made after she began a sweeping investigation of all dioceses in Illinois.

“Our initial review has found the number of Catholic clergy in Illinois with credible allegations of sexual abuse against minors is more extensive than the Church previously has disclosed to the public,” Madigan said in a statement. “My investigation will continue in order to provide victims, parishioners and the public with a complete and accurate accounting of sexually abusive behavior with minors involving priests in Illinois.”

Four of the clergy added to the Chicago list were priests with the archdiocese, two were deacons, two were "extern priests" from dioceses outside the United States who served in Chicago and two were priests from religious orders. All those from Chicago have died, while the priests from other dioceses and the religious order priests have been removed from ministry or defrocked:

  • Chicago Archdiocese priests: Edmund F. Burke, Thomas Carroll Crosby, Dominic Aloysius Diedrich, Thomas Francis Kelly.
  • Chicago Archdiocese deacons: Patricio William Batuyong, Louis Wojtowicz.
  • Extern priests: Sleeva Raju Policetti, Czeslaw Przybylo.
  • Religious order priests: Eusebio Pantoja, C.M.F., and Carlos Peralta, S.D.B

The archdiocese said in a statement late Wednesday that the list previously contained only priests from the archdiocese who were alive when the first allegation was made against them and whose allegations were substantiated by the Archdiocese Independent Review Board "or similar archdiocesan process."

The statement said Cardinal Blase Cupich asked that the list be expanded to include all diocesan, extern and religious order priests and deacons with allegations of child sexual abuse that were found to be substantiated. The allegations against the two extern priests and two religious order priests were substantiated by the Archdiocese Independent Review Board in 1999, 2003 and 2007, it said. Extern priests are those ordained in another diocese who are given permission to act as priests by a local diocese’s bishop.

The Illinois attorney general's office released a statement overnight saying its "ongoing investigation into the Catholic Church" prompted the Chicago archdiocese and other Illinois dioceses to disclose additional names of priests with credible allegations of sexual abuse against minors.

"So far, the Archdiocese of Chicago has disclosed 10 additional names, the Diocese of Peoria has disclosed three additional names, and the Diocese of Rockford has disclosed 11 additional names," Madigan said in the statement.

Madigan said she "anticipates additional names will be disclosed as her office’s investigation continues."

Madigan began her investigation in August following the release of a Pennsylvania grand jury report that identified at least seven priests with connections to Illinois. Madigan said her office has met with the six Catholic dioceses in Illinois and are reviewing documents and files, "including diocesan procedures for receiving and investigating allegations of abuse."

Allegations against at least six of those named Wednesday — Policetti, Peralta, Pantoja, Burke, Batuyong and Kelly — have been publicly aired before. Policetti, Peralta and Pantoja are still alive, according to the archdiocese:

Policetti was charged in 2002 with 20 counts of criminal sexual assault and abuse of a then-16-year-old Chicago girl. He abruptly left Chicago and fled to India, where he battled extradition, according to previous Tribune reporting. His victim eventually told prosecutors she didn’t want to pursue the case, but after a canonical trial in 2008, the Vatican defrocked Policetti over the sexual assault allegations.

In 2002, the archdiocese acknowledged it did not know that Peralta, a Salesian priest who worked in a Northwest Side parish, had a long history of allegations of sexual abuse against him. In 1999, the priest was accused of molesting four children from one Chicago family. The Salesians promised the archdiocese they would investigate, but transferred the priest first to New Jersey and then out of the country, never notifying law-enforcement authorities of the allegations. By the time Chicago police started a criminal investigation, detectives were unable to locate Peralta. Peralta was removed from public ministry in 1999, according to the archdiocese.

  • Pantoja was accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old child, the Tribune reported in 2013. Pantoja and the Claretian Missionaries, of which he was a member, were sued in 2003 over allegations that he committed acts of abuse in 1970 at his home and in Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. At the time of the suit, Pantoja was assigned to a parish in Mexico, said Marc Pearlman, an attorney for the plaintiff, who was 14 at the time of the alleged abuse. Pantoja was removed from public ministry in 2004, according to the archdiocese.
  • Burke died in 1989, five years after retiring from St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Wilmette, where he had been from 1972 to 1984. He had served as an assistant pastor at Blessed Sacrament, Holy Name of Mary, St. Leo and St. Columbanus, all on the West Side. In 1966, he was made pastor of Blessed Sacrament parish and six years later transferred to St. Francis Xavier.
  • Batuyong, who was born in July 1945 and died in 2009, was accused of criminal sexual assault while he served at a Hanover Park parish from June to September 1991. The deacon later was found guilty of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and sentenced to probation and home confinement, according to court records. The incidents involved one victim and occurred in Hanover Park, Palatine and Hoffman Estates, prosecutors said. Batuyong was a deacon at St. Ansgar Catholic Church during that time.
  • In 2005, the archdiocese settled with 24 adults who together accused 14 priests of molesting them when they were children. Kelly, who died in 1990, was among them.

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