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John Curran

Suspended from ministry for disobeying Archbishop, but not for molesting children

Documents make clear that by no later than 1990, Cardinal Bernardin was aware of John Curran’s sex crimes. However, instead of removing Curran from ministry Cardinal Bernardin promised not to disclose his knowledge of any allegations regarding Curran. By 1992, the Archdiocese could no longer cover for the cleric and Curran was forced to resign his position.

The Review Board reviewed Curran’s file in 1993 and determined there was reasonable cause to believe Curran had molested kids. Curran was put on restricted ministry, but still spent time with children. In 1995, because of mounting allegations, Cardinal Bernardin instructed Curran to go to treatment at the Wohl Institute. Curran did not get treatment at the time. Six months later, Father O’Malley, met with Curran and told Bernardin that he did not think Curran posed a threat to children.

Bishop Paprocki suspended Curran from all ministry in 1996 when Curran refused to report to treatment. By 1996, Curran was suffering from some unknown ailment. Subsequently, and despite his history of known abuse, Curran was placed back in a parish and reinstated as a priest.

Curran retired in 1999 and died in 2000.

TIMELINE OF DOCUMENTS– JOHN CURRAN

1955                According to a 2002 Report, Curran sexually abused a boy at Quigley Preparatory Seminary South in 1955 or 1956. The abuse consisted of one incident of genital fondling during which time Curran taught the boy how to masturbate. (AOC 001924)

1957 – Ordained

1957 – Assistant Pastor, St. Bede the Venerable 1961- Professor, Quigley Preparatory Seminary High School – South

Early 1960s     According to 1990 Report, Curran sexually abused a 13-14 year old in the early 1960s. The abuse consisted of improper questions and a request by Curran that the boys show him their penises. (AOC 002057)

6/15/1966 – Assistant Pastor, St Catherine of Siena

1966                According to 1992 memo to Cardinal Bernadin, O’Malley received an allegation of sexual abuse by Curran of a minor at Quigley. The abuse consisted of rubbing and touching of genitals. The minor was sexually abused some time later at St. Albert the Great. That incident consisted of oral sex. (AOC 002026- AOC 002027)

1966                According to a 2000 Report, Curran sexually abused a minor at Quigley Preparatory Seminary South. The abuse consisted of fondling and oral sex and occurred at least six times over a three year period from 1966-1969. (AOC 001928)

1967                According to 2004 Report, Curran sexually abused a minor at Quigley Preparatory Seminary South. The abuse consisted of sexually explicit discussions and genital fondling. (AOC 002073)

1968                According to a 2011 Report, Curran sexually abused a minor between the ages of 16 and 18 years old from 1968-1970 at Quigley Preparatory Seminary South and St. Albert the Great. The abuse consisted of kissing, genital fondling, and attempted digital penetration. Curran also exposed himself to the minor. (AOC 001925)

4/11/70            Letter of resignation of Curran from faculty of Quigley South to Cardinal Cody. (AOC 002146)

7/19/70 – Assistant Pastor, St. Albert the Great Parish

1970                A 1997 Report from the wife of a Curran survivor to the Office of Professional Review, stating that her husband had been repeatedly touched under his clothing by Curran when he was twelve to fourteen years old. (AOC 002068 – AOC 002069)

1970                According to a 1998 Report, Curran sexually abused a minor at the parish rectory in 1970 while the minor was an altar boy. The abuse consisted of kissing and fondling. (AOC 001937) 1971 According to a 2004 Report, Curran sexually abused a minor in the rectory at St. Albert the Great parish. The abuse consisted of fondling the girl’s chest and engaging in sexually explicit dialogue between 1971 and 1975. (AOC 001915)

1973                According to a 1992 memo of the Vicar for Priests, the office received an allegation that Curran sexually abused a minor at St. Albert’s. The abuse consisted of Curran pulling down his pants and exposing his penis and telling the minor that a girl performed oral sex on him. (AOC 002022)

1976                According to a 2004 Report, Curran sexually abused a minor at St. Albert the Great parish, the minor’s home and Curran’s car. The abuse consisted of 200 incidents between 1976 and 1979of fondling before and after mass and sexually explicit language during confession. (AOC 001914)

1977                According to a 2004 Report, Curran sexually abused a minor at St. Albert the Great parish when the minor was an altar boy between sixth and eighth grade from 1977-1979. The abuse consisted of fondling over and under clothing and would occur before mass in the sacristy of the church or the dressing room for the altar boys. (AOC 001913)

7/1/80 – Pastor, St. Christina Parish

1980                According to a 2007 Report, Curran sexually abused a minor beginning when the minor was in the 7th grade. The abuse consisted of giving the minor and his friends money to buy beer and marijuana and engaging in conversations with the minors about masturbation. (AOC 001855)

1980                According to a 2007 Report, a minor called Fr. Grace to make a complaint about Curran sexually abusing him when he was a minor and pastor of St. Christina’s. (AOC 001906)

1980                According to a 2008 Report, Curran sexually abused a minor at St. Christina parish rectory and in Curran’s car on four occasions. The abuse consisted of sexually explicit discussions, genital fondling and one incident of attempted oral sex. (AOC 002049)

1981                According to a 2003 Report, Curran sexually abused a minor at the parish rectory and the minor’s home beginning in approximately 1981. The abuse consisted of kissing, fondling and engaging in sexually explicit discussions. (AOC 001916)

1982                According to 2008 Report, Curran sexually abused a minor at the minor’s home and in the parish rectory approximately 17 to 22 times beginning in 1982. The abuse consisted of fondling and sexually explicit language.

1984                According to a 2011 Report, Curran sexually abused a minor at St. Christina parish rectory beginning in approximately 1984 for several years. The abuse consisted of a dozen incidents of sexually explicit discussions, genital grabbing and fondling, masturbation, attempted oral sex and one incident of attempted digital penetration. (AOC 002143)

1985                According to a 2004 Report, Curran sexually abused a minor at the St. Christina parish rectory beginning in approximately 1985. The abuse consisted of 10 to 20 instances of pornography, genital fondling, kissing, digital penetration of the anus and oral sex. (AOC 001912)

1985                According to a 2005 Report, Curran sexually abused a minor at the St. Christina parish rectory on between 10 and 50 occasions over the course of one year. The abuse consisted of kissing, fondling, masturbation and watching pornographic films with the altar boys. (AOC 0020284)

1986                According to a 1994 Report, Curran sexually abused a minor at St. Christina parish rectory and in Curran’s car twelve to eighteen times while the minor was an altar boy from 1986-1989. The abuse consisted of genital fondling, kissing, oral sex and sexually explicit discussions. (AOC 001840)

1987                According to a 1994 Report, Curran sexually abused a minor at St. Christina’s parish between 1987 and 1988. (AOC 002083)

11/10/90          Meeting between Cardinal and Vicar for Priests stating that it would not be indicated that the Cardinal was aware of anything and the Cardinal would make no reference to knowledge of the allegations of abuse against Curran. (AOC 002033)

12/1/90            Letter from Goedert to Cardinal Bernadin stating that Goedert met with the accusers and they were willing to let the matter rest and that “we can consider this matter closed.” (AOC 002032)

2/26/92            Letter from Archbishop to Curran giving him warning that a move will have to be made and offering condolences to Curran. (AOC 002023)

4/6/92              Memo to file of Vicar for Priests stating that Cardinal met with Curran and broke the news that his pastorate would not be renewed and he should voluntarily resign from being Dean. (AOC 002021)

12/1/92 – Administrator, St. Christina Parish

2/15/93            Personal letter from Curran to Cardinal Bernadin that although resigning, Curran intends to continue to work for the Church in Chicago under priests at Holy Family Villa and the PRMMA and that he has gotten support regarding this from Andy McDonagh and Bishop Raymond Goedert.(AOC 001849 – AOC 001850)

3/26/93            Review Board Meeting Minutes state that “there is reasonable cause to suspect that [Curran] engaged in sexual misconduct with a minor.” (AOC 001895)

4/28/93            Curran arrived at Alvernia Manor with a woman and her 10-year-old daughter who said they were friends of the Currans. Alvernia Manor has girls’ high school on site and has a picnic ground with lots of family picnics nearby. (AOC 002123)

5/12/93            Cardinal Bernadin letter to Curran accepting resignation as Dean of Deanery and Administrator of St. Christina and assigning him as Assistant to the Vicar for Senior Priests effective immediately. (AOC 001848)

5/12/93 - Assistant to the Vicar for Senior Priests with residence at Alvernia Manor

7/24/93            Second Stage Review Report re: Curran stating that there “has been a disturbing pattern of sexual misconduct with boys by Curran” and that “he should remain in this form of restricted ministry.” (AOC 002075 – AOC 002076)

8/31/93            Precept of Cardinal Bernadin restricting Curran from being alone in the presence of any minor under the age of eighteen without another responsible adult present. (AOC 001847)

3/15/95            Letter from Chancellor to Curran stating that Cardinal Bernadin has accepted the Review Board’s recommendations that it is no longer reasonable to allow Curran to remain in ministry and giving Curran five days to decide whether he will follow the Cardinal’s directive or choose another option. (AOC 001979 - AOC 001980)

6/28/95            Letter from Cardinal Bernadin to Curran encouraging him to attend treatment at the Wohl Institute in St. Louis. (AOC 001822)

11/6/95            Memo from O’Malley stating that he met with Curran, that “it seems pretty clear to me that John presents no risk to children” and that he told Curran his options, the preference being treatment at The Meadows in New Mexico. (AOC 001821)

1/8/96              Letter from Paprocki to Curran informing him that he is suspended from all ministry as a result of his disobedience in not reporting to the Wohl Institute as directed by the Cardinal. (AOC 001819)

2/7/96              Memo from O’Malley to Cardinal Bernadin that Curran is hesitant to go to treatment at Saint Luke Institute and is not ready to resign from the priesthood. (AOC 001818)

2/13/96            Letter from O’Malley to Paprocki drafting a letter to be sent to Curran to apply some pressure to get him into treatment. (AOC 001814)

2/17/96            Memo of Chancellor stating that Review Board was updated about Curran’s lack of monitoring and consideration should be given to having him committed involuntarily. (AOC 001816)

2/21/96            Letter from Chancellor Paprocki to Curran informing him that his change of residence without the permission of the Archdiocese is uncooperative and that he must return to his previous residence to remain a priest in the Archdiocese. (AOC 001813)

5/7/96              Memo from O’Malley re: Curran’s hospital admission and that “when the Cardinal heard about John’s serious condition, he immediately lifted the suspension that had been on John’s head.” (AOC 001956)

6/7/96              Decree of Cardinal Bernadin remitting the suspension of Curran. (AOC 001811)

6/11/96            Curran requests that the Professional Fitness Review Board allow him to reside at St. Joseph’s under the monitoring of Fr. Sayers. (AOC 001810)

8/22/96 – Resident, St. Joseph Parish

9/3/96              Specific protocol for Curran signed by Curran and the Professional Fitness Review Administrator. Protocol includes supervision and no one-on-one contact with minors. (AOC 001942)

9/10/96            Note stating that “in view of John’s cooperation, he will be reinstated at $839 effective 10/1/1996” (AOC 001962)

8/25/97            Letter from Cardinal George to Professional Fitness Review Administrator accepting the Board’s recommendation to move Curran to Koenig Hall with monitoring restrictions. (AOC 001943)

1/8/98              Letter from Cardinal George to Professional Fitness Review Administrator accepting the Board’s recommendation to move Curran to Alvernia Manor and have his activities monitored by a staff member there. (AOC 001940)

1999 – Retired, Resurrection Life Center

2/9/00              Letter from Cardinal George to Curran stating that it “is the appropriate time for [Curran] to officially retire from active ministry” and that his retirement is effective immediately. (AOC 001936)

3/28/00- Deceased