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Kenneth Brigham

Tried to adopt a child - Bernardin knew about priest’s “condition”

Less than ten years after his ordination, Kenneth Brigham is a problem. Already given a speedy transfer for reasons unknown in 1966, Archdiocese officials are discussing Brigham’s “condition.” By 1972, Brigham resigns from a second parish due to an undisclosed illness.

In 1981, Brigham tries to adopt a child, but is forbidden. In 1994, a survivor comes forward to the Archdiocese, but they deem the report “uncredible.” In 2002, another victim comes forward claiming that Brigham was a part of a sex ring with other priests. All allegations were deemed “not credible” by the Archdiocese. Numerous allegation later are deemed credible. Brigham died in 2006.

TIMELINE OF DOCUMENTS –KENNETH BRIGHAM

5/1/61– Ordained

7/6/61 - Assistant Pastor, Our Lady of Solace

4/66 – Assistant Pastor, St. Clotilde

4/14/66            According to a timeline from Brigham’s file, Brigham requested an appointment with the Cardinal on April 7, 1966 and was seen on April 14, 1966. The Cardinal reassigned him that day. (AOC 000695)

6/20/69 – Administrator, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Chicago, IL

2/28/72            Letter from Fr. George Clements to “Your Eminence,” the Archbishop, saying that he is traveling with Fr. Brigham to Nassau in the Bahamas and that the Archbishop spoke with Brigham about his “condition.” Letter notes that Bishop Dempsey said that Brigham “would be treated just like any other priest who is sick in the Archdicoese.” (AOC 000657)

7/20/72            Letter from the Archbishop to Brigham accepting Brigham’s resignation from Our Lady of Perpetual Help due to his illness. (AOC 000663)

8/2/72 – Associate Pastor, Holy Angels Parish, Chicago, IL

1/1/78 – Associate Pastor, St. Helena of the Cross, Chicago, IL

7/9/80 – Pastor, St. Columbanus, Chicago, IL

12/81               Notes on timeline in Brigham’s file say that as of this date he was ordered not to adopt a child. (AOC 000695)

7/1/92 – Pastor, Our Lady Help of Christians

5/24/94            Report of sexual abuse at St. Clotilde parish. The abuse included fondling and oral sex when the victim was a minor. (AOC 000667) Memo of a telephone call from the survivor who reported abuse at St. Clotilde in which the survivor confirms that Brigham was the priest who abused him. The memo also details the Archdiocese’s response to the allegation and does not mention any report to police or civil authorities. (AOC 000668- AOC 000671)

10/17/94          Letter from Sidlowski, the Professional Fitness Review Administrator, to the Archbishop saying that after a first stage review of an allegation of sexual abuse by Brigham the Review Board determined that there is no reasonable cause to suspect Brigham engaged in sexual misconduct and it recommends that Brigham continue in ministry and have no restrictions imposed against him. (AOC 000678)

5/24/00 – Temporary Administrator, St. Angela

9/20/00 – Dean of Deanery

9/17/01 – Pastor, St. Martin De Porres and St. Angela Parish

6/13/02            Letter from (redacted) to the members of the Fitness Review Panel and copied to Cardinal George with information about allegations of sexual abuse of a minor against Brigham. The author seeks action against Brigham and says that he heard reports about Brigham in the 1980s, when someone told him of overnight male visitors to the rectory to see Brigham. One was a pre-teen provisional adoptee placed with Brigham and some were part of a sex ring with other priests. The author notes that a priest reported Brigham’s behavior to Rev. Howard Tuite and Msgr. Ignatius McDermott and other priests, all of whom did nothing. The same priest reported Brigham to Cardinal Bernardin, who assured the priest he would take action but none was taken. (AOC 000692-AOC 000693)

5/1/05 – Pastor Emeritus, Our Lady of Help of Christians

2/4/05              Certification of priestly ministry for Brigham, signed by the Vicar for Priests, stating that Brigham had an allegation of sexual abuse against him in 2002 but it was declared false due to lack of sufficient data. (AOC 000666)

7/22/05            Letter from Cardinal George to McCluskey with the Office for Child Abuse Investigations and Review accepting the Board’s determination that there is 3 not reasonable cause to suspect the abuse by Brigham occurred. (AOC 000674)

5/25/06 - Deceased

11/21/07          Letter from Cardinal George to McCluskey with the Office for Child Abuse Investigations and Review saying that there is not sufficient evidence for further investigation into an allegation against Brigham. (AOC 000673)

12/6/07            Report of sexual abuse by Fr. Stewart included a note that Stewart told the survivor that Brigham belonged to a club that would pick up little boys and sexually abuse them. (AOC 000672)