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Dioceses respond to published report of clergy, staff misconduct

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois dioceses strongly dispute a report published Wednesday by a Minnesota-based law firm accusing nearly 400 clergy members and church staffers of sexual misconduct.

The 185-page document lists the names, photographs, assignment histories and background information for individuals associated with churches throughout the state, in each of the six dioceses.

Jeff Anderson, the trial attorney who heads the firm that published the report, said Wednesday at a news event in Chicago the main purpose for releasing this information is so “kids are protected better.”

Statement of the Diocese of Peoria

Today, Attorney Jeff Anderson published a lengthy report providing the names of various priests across the state of Illinois that he claimed had allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.

The section of this report that directly pertains to the Diocese of Peoria lists 29 priests. Twenty-six of these 29 priests have been listed on the Diocese of Peoria website for some time and have been made publicly known. These 26 priests have been reported to the appropriate state’s attorney.

It is important to note that the majority of the 29 names released today are deceased. Furthermore, the allegations of abuse dated back several decades.

The Diocese of Peoria offers the following comments on the remaining three priests.

Fr. Frank Martinez: He is a priest of the Diocese of Davenport, Iowa, and is listed on their diocesan website. The Diocese of Peoria has never received an allegation of abuse regarding Fr. Martinez.

Msgr. Charles Beebe: Jeff Anderson’s report today stated that the Diocese of Peoria only reported this case after a lawsuit was filed. This is completely false.

In June 2018, the Diocese of Peoria received an allegation that Msgr. Beebe sexually abused a person in 1981 (37 years ago). Msgr. Beebe was immediately placed on administrative leave and cooperated with the investigation. This allegation was immediately reported to the Peoria Police Department. The police investigated this accusation and reviewed Msgr. Beebe’s personnel file. They concluded their investigation and acknowledged the Diocese’s cooperation in this matter. This allegation was taken to our Diocesan Review Commission. The Commission unanimously determined that the allegation was unsubstantiated and could not be deemed credible. Msgr. Beebe was reinstated in ministry. Msgr. Beebe is a retired priest since 2016. This case has been reported to the appropriate State’s Attorney. All of these actions of the Diocese occurred months before any lawsuit being filed.

Msgr. Thomas Maloney: While Msgr. Maloney was alive, an allegation was received. He was immediately placed on administrative leave. This allegation was taken to the Review Commission and it was unanimously determined to be unsubstantiated.

Later after Maloney’s death, the Diocese entered into a settlement agreement. As is often the case with settlements, the Diocese makes no admissions of liability. This case has been reported to the appropriate state’s attorney.

Under the direction of Bishop Jenky, the Catholic Diocese of Peoria remains committed to maintaining a safe environment to all children.

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