Investigation of Illinois Catholic Diocese Cites "Culture of Secrecy"

By Kevin McDermott
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
August 2, 2006

Springfield, Ill. -- An internal investigation of the Catholic diocese that includes Madison County acknowledged today that "a culture of secrecy" has protected diocese priests who engaged in sexual and financial misconduct in recent years.

However, in presenting the report to the media, Springfield Diocese officials and the investigator they hired declined to reveal who some of those priests were, exactly what they did, where they are now -- or even how much the diocese paid for the internal investigation.

Among the few findings in the report that haven't been previously revealed is that diocesan computers were used "to access inappropriate sites and were otherwise employed in a manner inconsistent with the mission of the church."

The report doesn't specify whether that activity involved priests or other diocesan employees. The Springfield attorney who led the investigation declined to reveal more details on the issue during a Springfield news conference unveiling the report.

The eight-page report was written by a panel of five volunteers from the diocese, including state Sen. William Haine, D-Alton. It was based on an 18-month investigation by Springfield attorney Bill Roberts, who was hired by the diocese last year to investigate persistent rumors of misconduct by diocese priests.


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