February 10, 2006

Accused priests live near school

Chicago Tribune

By Manya A. Brachear
Tribune staff reporter
Published February 10, 2006

Across the road from Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein sits a stately house where the Archdiocese of Chicago monitors priests removed from public ministry because they allegedly had sexually abused children.

If these men were convicted sex offenders, they would not be allowed to live so close to a school; the two properties are less than 500 feet apart. But in most cases, their alleged actions happened so long ago that they could not be prosecuted.

Victims' advocates say that is no excuse for allowing priests facing substantiated sex-abuse allegations to live in this location, the Cardinal Stritch Retreat House at the nation's largest Catholic seminary, the University of St. Mary of the Lake.

"The purpose is to protect kids. That's why Illinois, like every other state, has laws about where sex offenders can reside," said Barbara Blaine, founder of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "Just because they were successfully shielded by church leaders doesn't mean they pose any less risk to kids than any other sex offender."

Posted by kshaw at February 10, 2006 07:49 AM