Archdiocese of Chicago Statement
Former Archdiocese of Chicago Priest Joseph Wilk
February 10, 2014
Joseph Wilk, a resigned priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago, has been placed on the list of
Archdiocesan Priests with Substantiated Allegations of Sexual Misconduct with Minors. Wilk left public ministry in the Archdiocese of Chicago in September of 2008, for reasons unrelated to sexual abuse of minors.
On April 23, 2010, a man contacted the Archdiocese’s Office of Assistance Ministry to say his son recently disclosed to him that he had been sexually abused as a minor. The accuser’s father said his son was incarcerated and was not yet ready to come forward. This third-party accusation is the only substantiated allegation the Archdiocese received connecting Wilk to the sexual abuse of a minor.
An employee from the Office of Assistance Ministry explained the services of this Office and described the Office for Child Abuse Investigations and Review. The accuser’s father said he would accept a call from the director of the Archdiocesan Office for Child Abuse Investigations and Review and a file was opened to reflect the information.
On April 28 and May 7, 2010, the director of the Office for Child Abuse Investigations and Review attempted to contact the accuser’s father by phone. There was no response. Archdiocesan practice in the case of third party reports is that the person coming forward with information about another person who may have been abused is asked to share the Archdiocesan contact information with the abused person and invite him or her to come forward. This practice is based upon the advice of experts that we should not initiate contact with an abused person directly because he or she has not made a decision to come forward; that is the victim's choice to make.
On April 29, 2010, the Archdiocese reported the accuser’s father’s allegation regarding Wilk to civil authorities. Already out of public ministry, Wilk resigned from the priesthood on September 15, 2010.
Almost three years later, on May 9, 2013, the accuser himself finally came forward by filing a lawsuit with an allegation against Wilk.
After the accuser personally came forward, his allegation was substantiated through the Archdiocese’s independent Review Board process that determined that there was “reasonable cause to suspect” that Wilk had abused a minor. On January 14, 2014, the Cardinal accepted the Review Board’s determination. On February 5, 2014, Wilk’s name was added to the list of priests with substantiated allegations on the Archdiocesan website.
The abuse of any child is a crime and a sin. The Archdiocese encourages anyone who has been sexually abused by a priest, deacon, religious, lay employee or volunteer, to come forward. Complete information about reporting sexual abuse can be found on the Archdiocesan website at www.archchicago.org/departments/protection/protection.shtm.
NOTE: This statement was revised on March 7, 2014 to clarify that the allegation was substantiated.