CHICAGO (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Illinois attorney general is announcing the launch of an investigation into the Chicago archdiocese.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said Thursday, "The Catholic Church has a moral obligation to provide its parishioners and the public a complete and accurate accounting of all sexually inappropriate behavior involving priests," going on to announce a probe into all six dioceses in the state.
Madigan made clear her move was prompted by the Pennsylvania grand jury report published last week, which revealed 300 alleged predator priests who abused more than 1,000 victims in six dioceses.
"We have reviewed the Pennsylvania grand jury report, which identifies at least seven priests with connections to Illinois," she said. "The Chicago Archdiocese has agreed to meet with me. I plan to reach out to the other dioceses in Illinois to have the same conversation and expect the bishops will agree and cooperate fully."
Madigan made clear any efforts to obstruct her investigation would result in her working with "states attorneys and law enforcement throughout Illinois to investigate."
Although Cdl. Blase Cupich has not issued a statement, a spokesman for the Chicago archdiocese said they "look forward to discussing our policies and procedures related to misconduct issues with her and her office."
Cupich is currently in Ireland attending the World Meeting of Families Conference, where Pope Francis is making an appearance.
The announcement comes on the same day that Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announced his own probe into Catholic dioceses in the state.
Both the New York and Nebraska attorneys general have also hinted at the possibility of conducting their own grand jury investigations into clerical sex abuse in their respective states.
The threat of multiple grand jury investigations being launched across the nation, as well as speculation of a possible RICO prosecution from the Department of Justice — a move that would have enormous financial consequences for the Church in America — have caused the Vatican to send an investigator to the United States. Archbishop Charles Scicluna, whose previous investigation into sex abuse cover-up in Chile led to the Chilean bishops' mass resignations, is reportedly being sent to the United States for an apostolic visitation.
Madigan is married to Pat Byrnes, brother to Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Michael Byrnes, sent to Guam to replace Abp. Anthony Apuron, who was removed in 2016 over allegations of homosexual assault of altar boys.