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Madigan creates Clergy Abuse Hotline to report sexual allegations

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is currently asking Illinois’ six dioceses to turn over all records regarding sexual assault and abuse for further review. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has launched a Clergy Abuse Hotline after a Pennsylvania grand jury report found that seven priests who sexually abused parishioners had Illinois ties.

The hotline at 1-888-414-7678 will be open for anyone in Illinois to report any sexual abuse allegations regarding clergy members. Trained staff will answer the phones during business hours, and messages left after hours will be returned if contact information is left. Emails can also be sent to clergyabuse@atg.state.il.us.

The creation of this hotline comes on the heels of a Pennsylvania grand jury report that found 300 priests had abused over 1,000 victims in the state of Pennsylvania over the past 70 years. Seven of these priests had connections to Illinois.

Five of the seven priests had connections with the Archdiocese of Chicago. Gregory Furjanic, Brother Edmundus Murphy, Robert Spangenberg, Jerry Kucan, and Raymond Lukac were all named in the grand jury report, all with Chicago connections. Spangenberg served as a chaplain and teacher at St. Francis de Sales high school from August 1980 to June 1985.

Madigan is currently asking Illinois’ six dioceses to turn over all records regarding sexual assault and abuse for further review. Should individuals not comply, Madigan said she would work with state’s attorney’s and law enforcement across Illinois to conduct a full investigation. Any allegations from the hotline will be turned over to state’s attorneys as appropriate.

John O’Malley, former Director of Legal Services for the Archdiocese of Chicago, said the Archdiocese has had its own hotline in place — 1-800-994-6200 — since 1992. Since 2002, any allegation reported to that hotline has been reported to a state’s attorney.

In 2002, the state’s attorney reviewed all allegations submitted before 2002 to ensure all reports were properly addressed. Since then, O’Malley said there have been periodic reviews of their records, and that the Archdiocese plans to cooperate with and assist Madigan in her investigation.