Just short of 2,000 children were abused by 450 priests in the Archdiocese of Chicago and surrounding parishes, a new investigation by the Illinois Attorney General has revealed.

It is hard to put into perspective but put it this way, 450 pedophiles ran rampant through the Catholic Church in Illinois using and abusing little boys and girls and no one cared.

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul revealed details on May 23.

“This report reveals names and detailed information of 451 Catholic clerics and religious brothers who abused at least 1,997 children across all of the dioceses in Illinois," Raoul said in a statement.

The investigation identified 275 allegedly abusive clerics and religious brothers in the Archdiocese of Chicago, 43 in the Diocese of Belleville, 69 in Joliet, 51 in Peoria, 24 in Rockford, and 32 in Springfield. Some accused abusers worked in multiple dioceses, equaling a “discrete” total of 451 accused, according to the report.

The preponderance of names on the list are Irish, a sad reflection on the depths of depravity of some Irish holy men. It is sad indeed that the many dedicated priests in the archdiocese are tarred with the same brush. 

The finding should not surprise us given the horrific stories of the recent past in other parishes all over America and, as we well know, in Ireland where perhaps the greatest abuser of all, Father Brendan Smyth, had to be buried at midnight in the grounds of his religious order in Cavan with only a few witnesses and the headlights of a car providing the illumination for the lowering of the casket. Concrete was later poured over the grave site.

Smyth was, in the words of one psychiatrist who interviewed him, a sex maniac and serial abuser. Queens University Professor Ian Bownes called him an incurable psychopath “on a scale of one to ten very close to the number 10.”

An incurable psychopath in priest’s clothing is a highly dangerous animal, but when Church elders, including bishops and cardinals, are covering up for him, then it had a catastrophic effect.

In fact, Smyth brought down an  Irish government as well as an Attorney General and destroyed two cardinals, Cahal Daly and Sean Brady. (See my book "A New Ireland" from Skyhorse Press for the full story.)

Smyth operated freely in Ireland North and South, Italy, Scotland, Wales and the US where he plied his filthy trade in Boston, Rhode Island, and North Dakota.

Some experts put the number of his abuses as high as 500. Smyth himself told an examining doctor it was up to 100. His specialty was raping children in their bedrooms while their parents sat downstairs believing he was hearing confession or helping with homework.

Like so many others, he played hide and seek with his accusers being moved around to parishes all over Ireland, Britain, and America where he continued to abuse. 

The Chicago pedophile scandal has revived memories for many of just how cynical and indecent the handling of the crisis by the Church elders was. It is great to see justice in some measure being granted but a generation of children had their innocence destroyed.