CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Archdiocese of Chicago's list of priests accused of sex abuse nearly doubled Friday with the addition of dozens of names, including priests who were accused when they were no longer alive.
For years, the Archdiocese of Chicago has publicly named priests with substantiated allegations of sex abuse, but its list did not include the names of priests accused when they were deceased and clergy from different religious orders.
"The system wasn't designed for that," Archdiocese of Chicago General Counsel Jim Geoly said. "Even the website, when it was first created in 2006, was meant for the safety of children so people who were dangerous to children would be identified."
But in the interest of transparency, pressure from abuse victims, and an ongoing Illinois Attorney General's investigation, the Archdiocese is expanding its list.
"We've been told victims will appreciate seeing the names of an abuser on a public list even if he is deceased," Geoly said.
Deceased priests with at least two allegations substantiated by the Archdiocese Board of Review made the list. So did dozens of clergy from different religious orders.
"We are posting the names of religious order priests that have been found by their own orders to be child sex abusers, no matter where it happened or when it happened," Geoly said.
In all, the Chicago Archdiocese is releasing 72 new names: 16 deceased, 49 from religious orders and seven visiting priests.
"It's a real positive development," said Melissa Anderson, who represents victims at Frost Pearlman Law. "It's something we have been pushing for for some time, when it comes to child abuse, transparency is key."
But the group SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) said it's not enough names, especially since the Attorney General's office has said there are at least 500 names of clergy that have not been made public yet.
"Why hide it?" said Larry Antonsen, with SNAP Chicago. "It's going to come out sooner or later anyways, it usually does."
As of now, the Archdiocese has released a total of 150 names.
Each time the Archdiocese releases a priest abuse list, it receives more lawsuits from victims. Since this most recent list is so big, the Archdiocese fully expects more legal action.
Full Statement from Attorney General Kwame Raoul:
The Archdiocese's announcement today demonstrates a commitment to transparency that is a direct outgrowth of our multi-year investigation of child sex abuse by members of the Catholic clergy. I appreciate the Archdiocese's cooperation with our ongoing investigation and its efforts to reform and enact policies centered on disclosure. Throughout our investigation, we have and will continue to prioritize public disclosure of child sex abusers, which we hope contributes to survivors' healing. I am thankful that our investigation has resulted in the Archdiocese ending decades of policies that allowed substantiated child sex abusers to remain in the shadows - and is instead taking significant steps toward accountability - to survivors, families and parishioners.