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It’s not as simple as they’re making it look

Tuesday, Nov 14, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* CBS 2 in May

Last week, a 696-page report was released detailing child sex abuse committed by Catholic clerics in Illinois - following a nearly-five-year investigation by the Illinois Attorney General’s office.

As CBS 2’s Tara Molina reported, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, is taking issue with the bishop in one of the state’s six Catholic dioceses. The group claims the bishop of the Diocese of Joliet is not being forthcoming.

SNAP says abusive clerics are still being protected or hidden in the Diocese of Joliet. They are calling for all the abusive priests’ names to be shared and posted publicly.

* Shaw Local in July

Joliet Catholic Academy is interested in buying the neighboring Our Lady of Angels property for a campus expansion that could include a future stadium.

JCA has included a stadium study in its strategic plan since 2018 but has not made a commitment to the project, President and Principal Jeffrey Budz said.

“We’re exploring and investigating,” Budz said Thursday. “I can’t emphasize those words enough.”

* Shaw Local in September

The fallout from a Minooka company that federal authorities deemed a Ponzi-like enterprise has cost a Joliet school and a church hundreds of thousands of dollars in settlements, along with a $153,500 judgment against a Channahon nonprofit organization, court records show.

Joliet Catholic Academy, Messiah Lutheran Church and Legacy Families all received money from Today’s Growth Consultant in Minooka. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said in a 2019 lawsuit the company was engaged in a “Ponzi-like scheme” to defraud investors. […]

As a result, Damian reached settlements that required Joliet Catholic Academy to pay $100,000

* Sun-Times in late September

In a report earlier this year by the Illinois attorney general, the Diocese of Joliet was criticized for continued secrecy over the extent of child sex abuse by priests and religious brothers who served in the ecclesiastical jurisdiction. […]

As the diocese embarks on an initiative that could lead to mergers and closings of Catholic parishes and schools, Bishop Ronald Hicks and his aides won’t provide key financial details about their organization even as they acknowledge that finances are part of the reasons for the restructuring.

Among the subjects they won’t address: how much money has been spent under Hicks and his predecessors in settlements and others costs responding to child sex abuse accusations lodged against clergy members and other religious figures.

* Shaw Local in late October

The Diocese of Joliet soon will be making some difficult decisions about what the city’s Catholic community will look like moving forward as it continues its “targeted restructuring” initiative.

Because of continued declining revenue and attendance in diocese churches and a need for significant work and repairs at many of the older parish buildings, the diocese began the process two years ago of evaluating church assets and trying to formulate a plan to restructure the diocese in a way that improves efficiency and saves money.

* Shaw Local yesterday

The end of a tax credit scholarship program for students at nonpublic schools will leave parents with a “huge unknown” for the next school year, according to an official with Joliet Catholic Academy.

On Thursday, state lawmakers adjourned their fall veto session without calling House Bill 4194 for a vote to keep the Invest in Kids Act alive. The scholarship program allows students at nonpublic schools in Illinois to receive tax credit scholarships. […]

On Thursday, [Ryan Quigley, Joliet Catholic Academy institutional advancement director] said he thinks the expiration of the Invest In Kids Act could cause the closure of Catholic schools in Joliet, which already faces parish closures because of falling attendance.

* From an Illinois Families for Public Schools report shared with legislators last month

Joliet Catholic Academy is a private religious school that had 27 students using vouchers via Illinois’ Invest in Kids voucher program last year. They received at least $346,320 in Invest in Kids vouchers. $57,720 of that (17%) went to low-income students (i.e. students who would qualify for free or reduced price meals.) No voucher recipients at JCA last year identified as Black.

JCA had a $12.9 million endowment FY2022, according to this spring 2023 report.

According to the data on non-public schools from the Illinois State Board of Education, in 2022-2023, JCA was 29% students of color, 4% special education students, and 0% low-income students.

ISBE doesn’t report data on English-language learners at private schools, so there is no information on whether JCA serves any ELLs. There is no mention on the JCA website of any programs for ELLs, dual-language programs or bilingual services.

Nearby public schools

The public school district where JCA is located, Joliet Township High School District 204, serves a very different population than JCA. Last year it was 79% students of color, 58% low-income students. 14% of students had IEPs, and 13% were ELLs. […]

Invest in Kids vouchers have funded students at JCA since 2018. Comparing JCA’s pre-IIK enrollment to post-IIK enrollment, the percentage of Black & Latinx students has inched up slightly, but mostly due to the fact that the white population has been falling since 2015-2016.

There’s more.


  1. - Pundent - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 10:28 am:

    The Invest in Kids Act (a/k/a Save my Tax Credit Act). Was nothing more than an attempt to save these Catholic schools from the impact of declining enrollment. It wasn’t about the kids and certainly not poor ones. And as a taxpayer I see no reason for the state to prop up the Catholic Church particularly given its history and lack of transparency and accountability.

  2. - Hannibal Lecter - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 10:33 am:

    I supported the program only because it gave parents an opportunity to send their children to a school of their choice that would provide a better educational opportunity than their local public schools. Even middle income families are priced out of these schools with tuition at most Catholic high schools being over 12k a year. I personally went to a local Catholic school and it certainly prepared me for college and beyond. I am no longer a practicing Catholic, but I can still see the value in the education provided by Catholic schools.

    I don’t think the quality of education at public schools will improve by the sunsetting of this program.

    With respect.

  3. - TheInvisibleMan - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 10:37 am:

    Good coverage, putting it all in a chronological series like this.

    “There’s more.”

    Oh, there’s SO much more.

    Keeping the focus on the list of priests is the ‘best worst outcome’ the diocese has chosen. Not publicly reported at all, and currently being covered up, are incidents with the coaches within the diocese. Eventually the explosive news from last week will come out in the open for all to read, although it’s already well known in the local area despite the attempts to keep it quiet.

    It’s only been 10 months since the last diocese employee/teacher was sentenced for crimes against a child. And that only happened because an outside vigilante group caught him - not the locals. Prior to that, the diocese was knowingly moving him around to different schools within the diocese as a result of his previous behavior. But he wasn’t a priest, so he like the coaches never did or will show up on their lists.

  4. - Annonin' - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 10:49 am:

    Nice pairing…the pervert story with the giveaway follow up…Once again it does not hurt to mention folks can still make donations and take a charitable deduction. According to GuideStar the 2021 Empower Illinois tax return shows $26.4 million in the banks and 4 execs with salaries ranging from $144K to $295K. Very illuminating.

  5. - Payback - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 10:59 am:

    “…following a nearly-five-year investigation by the Illinois Attorney General’s office.” I didn’t know this type of investigation was within the scope of the (weak) IL Attorney General Act. Now let’s hear the Kwame apologists/fanboys chime in.

  6. - Joe Pulitzer - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 11:00 am:

    It’s particularly embarrassing when journalists apparently don’t read their own newspaper.

    Felix Sarver’s story looks like it could have been copied and pasted from an IPI press release.

    Hopefully someone will tag @FSarver @Malloy_Jessie @HN_Joliet so they can compare notes.

    My first thought was maybe Malloy left Shaw News, but that does not appear to be the case.

  7. - TNR - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 11:02 am:

    I’m with Bill Maher…we need non-Catholic Catholic schools:

  8. - TheInvisibleMan - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 11:12 am:

    Who runs Joliet?

    From the Herald story yesterday;

    “the program had support from Joliet Mayor Terry D’Arcy and seven other council members”

    In total, there are eight council members.

    If more can be added to the chronology;

    Buried in last months city council meeting, is a 300k+ expense for the city of Joliet to do the asbestos remediation on a diocese building.

    How did the city come in possession of it? The Diocese ‘gifted’ it to the city 2 decades ago and it hasn’t been in use since, because it was just as full of asbestos when the diocese gave it to the city as it is today.

  9. - Back to the Future - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 11:17 am:

    Thanks for the reference.
    Worth a look.

  10. - Appears - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 11:26 am:

    Payback…you do know that the investigation was started by the precious Attorney General?

  11. - Rudy’s teeth - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 11:40 am:

    Obfuscation is the name of the game in the Catholic Church. The lack of transparency regarding truth, honesty, and the pedophile scandal continues.

    The co-conspirators…the clergy and Suits…should be held accountable for withholding evidence of criminal activity in parishes.

    As parishes and schools close, the officials continue to tout the value of a Catholic education. So many lives were destroyed by pedophile priests who inflict life long trauma on their victims.

    Under no circumstances should public tax dollars be used to support an organization with the sordid history of the Catholic Church.

  12. - Carmelite and Diocesan institutions - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 11:43 am:

    For a guy who gives no quarter to people who blame Kim Foxx for stuff happening in Bob Berlin’s jurisdiction, why doesn’t Rich Miller understand we are under different jurisdictions?

    Maybe it’s because the Teacher Union-funded lobbyist for whom he carried water (he wasn’t carrying water for students in Joliet Township as JCA gets more exclusive while remaining a vastly better option for those who can afford it) in this post didn’t want him to make that big distinction.

    F- on this post.

  13. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 11:46 am:

    From the link…

    “JCA isn’t run by Diocese of Joliet but by two religious orders, but lists its affiliation on the ISBE website as the Diocese of Joliet”

    Also, I don’t carry water. That’s projection on your part.

  14. - Appears - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 12:00 pm:

    I am Catholic and went to both public and Catholic schools growing up. That being said, I support the intent of the Invest in Kids, but not it’s application.
    The Catholic Church is one of the biggest and most secretive companies/organizations in the world. It is also one of the worst ran organizations. There is no forward thinking or planning. Just reacting to situations (usually years too late).
    The Invest in Kids is not (or should not be) an excuse to use public funds to support an organization that isn’t trying to help itself.

  15. - Hannibal Lecter - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 12:11 pm:


    Loved the video you posted. It actually made me think a little bit about why we have so many problems with our public schools. It is sad that we get more real commentary on how the world works from a comedy show than we get from our news. I generally do not like Bill Maher, but that segment was on point.

  16. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 12:35 pm:

    =With respect.=

    With respect, it is not the public’s job to subsidize failing catholic and other private schools that cannot financially sustain their model while making secret payments to cover up sexual abuse by clergy and staff. These schools, as demonstrated by the data, are practicing discriminatory enrollment in my estimation.

    I too attended catholic schools as well as public schools. The education that I received in the public school was better. Two of my classmates at the catholic school were molested by a parish priest. The church protected the priest but not the kids.

    I liek Bill Maher but he is largely wrong on public education. All schools are not like San Francisco and New York schools and he should no that. He is right about parents. They are the biggest impediment to student/school success these days.


  17. - Lurker - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 12:37 pm:

    Economically speaking, JCA is most worried about the playoffs. Catholic high schools have shown that contributions and football success are highly correlated.

  18. - don the legend - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 12:46 pm:

    Catholic educated k-12.

    Amazed that a typical diocese is a multi million dollar franchise of a multi billion dollar parent corporation. Each franchise is managed by someone not professionally trained in business, accounting, strategic planning, corporate governance etc. And the fact that their customers (parishioners) keep giving money to such a poorly run business.
    End of rant

  19. - Amalia - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 1:05 pm:

    if the RC church was a corporation, by now it would be shut down for all the violations.

  20. - Frida's boss - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 1:08 pm:

    Who are the Illinois Families for Public Schools?
    How are they funded? Is it taxpayer money from public schools to support this organization? Funded by CTU?
    Their address is a virtual workspace building address 332 S. Michigan Ste 121-i252.

  21. - Interesting - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 2:48 pm:

    How long is the report on active abuse cases in Chicago Public Schools?

  22. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 2:54 pm:

    =How long is the report on active abuse cases in Chicago Public Schools?=

    Yeah, but…

    I don’t know, but I bet it is not nearly as long as the report of sex abuse by clergy in Illinois.

  23. - Paddyrollingstone - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 4:38 pm:

    Went to school in Joliet - all Catholic schools. Fantastic experience. All 6 of my kids have done the same, including Catholic colleges. Again, fantastic experience for all involved. Obviously, there have been serious problems (serious understatement, I know). This is all appropos (sp?) of nothing but what are you gonna do. Go Hillmen!

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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