Cupich Covers Up Bernardin Rape Charge, Falsely Claims All Allegations Reported

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by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  June 25, 2019   

Official documents prove Cupich is not reporting all allegations

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CHICAGO (ChurchMilitant.com) - Cardinal Blase Cupich is falsely claiming that he's turned over all allegations of clerical sex abuse to law enforcement.

Chicago's archbishop is telling local media that even unsubstantiated cases involving clerical sex abuse have been handed over to the Illinois attorney general. 

The Chicago Tribune reported on Monday, "Cupich noted that the archdiocese reported every allegation of abuse to the Cook County state attorney's office. The archdiocese turned over to the attorney general's office thousands of documents, including those related to unsubstantiated claims of abuse."

Missing from the list generated last December, however, is the name of the late Cdl. Joseph Bernardin. Church Militant's special report on Thursday uncovered a paper trail showing an allegation that Bernardin had raped a minor was lodged in the 1990s. Church Militant's report aired official Church documents proving that both the Vatican and the Chicago archdiocese were aware of these allegations and had also corresponded with the alleged victim, who was a minor at the time of the alleged incident.

In Thursday's report, Church Militant said the documents aired were previously contained in Chicago's secret archives and were "just a small sampling of various letters, correspondence, court records and emails" in their possession.

Church Militant had reached out to the archdiocese weeks before airing the report last week and received no response from the archdiocese. The archdiocese did not verify if they had the document and neither did they ask for the specific documents that Church Militant informed them of.

As per Thursday's special report, the allegations involve the rape of a minor by the young Fr. Joseph Bernardin in 1957 at St. Mary's parish in Greenville, South Carolina, located in the diocese of Charleston. The rape is said to have contained elements of a satanic ritual and further involved Bernardin's ordinary, Bp. John J. Russell, who was then head of the Charleston diocese.

The paper trail involving these allegations is immense, beginning when the alleged victim came forward in the 1990s. The victim first contacted the archdiocese in April of 1993 by phone and later by writing to report the alleged rape involving Bernardin and Russell. The documents show an ongoing correspondence between the victim and with the archdiocese of Chicago Professional Fitness Review Administrator Steve Sidlowski.

The documentation aired by Church Militant also includes a copy of the registered mail receipt and the original letter; the letter was signed for by Cdl. Bernardin's office and dated April 8, 1993. The cache of secret documents provided to Church Militant shows the victim wrote on two occasions directly to Pope John Paul II. This fact is proven by an acknowledgment of the victim's letter made dated Sept. 4, 1993 by Monsignor Leonardo Sandri, then at the Vatican Secretariat of State.

The victim even received a letter from then-U.S. Papal Nuncio Archbishop Agostino Cacciavillan dated April 3, 1995. This correspondence with the accusations against Bernardin was even assigned a case number by the nunciature — N. 17. 598.
 
There is much more correspondence in Church Militant's possession showing the archdiocese of Chicago and Rome are well aware of the rape allegations against Bernardin. The fact that Church Militant made known to Cupich the existence of such documents weeks ago has faithful Catholics wondering how Cupich can claim to have released documentation of all cases, even if unsubstantiated.

Watch the panel discuss the paper trail proving Cdl. Cupich isn't reporting all allegations of sex abuse in The Download—Exposing Chicago's Secrets.

 

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