Illinois list of alleged abusive priests includes Pinoy clergymen

TJ Manotoc, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 22 2019 01:02 PM

A law firm representing survivors of clergy abuse has released a list of almost 400 names of Catholic priests, clerics, and brothers who have been publicly accused of sexual abuse in Illinois.

The massive list that spans decades includes two Filipino priests and one American priest who spent most of his career in the Philippines.

The 185-page report released during a news conference Wednesday contains background information, photographs and assignment histories of 395 catholic clergy and laypersons accused of sexual misconduct. 

The perpetrators in the report worked or continue to work in the Archdiocese of Chicago and the dioceses of Belleville, Joliet, Peoria, Rockford and Springfield. 

“Because those at the top have chosen not to believe so many survivors for so many years who have come forward with reports and have chosen then to keep secret not only the identity of those offenders -- 395 of whom we identify in this report and we publicly accused -- but those who had been complicit of the concealment at the time,” said lawyer Jeff Anderson. 

One of the survivors, an emotional and tearful Joe Iacano, shared his story.

“It was in the early 1960s when I was abused. He was someone I looked up to. He groomed me and when the abuse happened of course I didn’t know what to do. I was 11 years old,” he said.

Among the 395 are two Filipinos, Fr. Albert Tanghal and Fr. Leonard Mateo, who have both passed away.

Fr. Tanghal was a native of the Philippines and ordained for the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1991. At least one survivor accused him of child sexual abuse. Fr. Tanghal was removed from ministry in 2000. He is included on the Archdiocese of Chicago’s list of “clergy with substantiated allegations of sexual misconduct with minors.” 

Fr. Mateo meanwhile was ordained in Cebu in 1959, but worked throughout the US. He has been accused of child sexual abuse while working in the Diocese of Tagbilaran, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and the Diocese of Joliet. 

Also in the list is American priest Fr. Eamonn Byrne who worked in the Philippines for most of his career in the 1950s to the 1970s in Pangasinan and Manila. 

The law firm and the survivors say they will continue a statewide initiative, “Fight for 500,” which seeks to uncover the identities and information about the more than 500 alleged predator priests that the Illinois Attorney General reported are being hidden by Illinois bishops. 

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