BREAKING: 4 clergy, including 3 Vincentians, tied to DePaul named in Illinois investigation into Catholic Church abuse


Una Cleary

Saint Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Lincoln Park. According to the attorney general’s report, one Vincentian priest committed abuse while serving at Saint Vincent de Paul Catholic Church on DePaul’s campus.

Four separate clergy with past ties to DePaul were listed in a report released by the state’s Attorney General’s office Tuesday, detailing rampant abuse among Catholic clergy in Illinois. Francis J. Murphy, Daniel Schulte, James (Hugh) Austin and Thomas Parrot all served at DePaul University or Saint Vincent de Paul Parish sometime between the 1920s until the 1990s.

The investigation found that 450 Catholic clergy members abused roughly 2,000 children in the state over a seven-decade period from 1950-2019, according to the 696-page report. This is more than four times the 103 credibly accused members publicly disclosed when the state first began its investigation in 2018. 

Among those accused, 12 individuals were affiliated with the Vincentian order.

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said at a news conference on Tuesday that investigators found that the Catholic clergy abused 1,997 children in the state’s six dioceses, including the Archdiocese of Chicago, between 1950 and 2019, according to the report.

“It is my hope that this report will shine light both on those who violated their positions of power and trust to abuse innocent children, and on the men in church leadership who covered up that abuse,” Raoul said.

The report on Catholic clergy child sex abuse outlines Illinois Church leaders as grievously slow in acknowledging the extent of the abuse, stating, “its leaders made glaring missteps along the way, and serial predators were at times given ample opportunity to abuse well beyond the time they should have been removed from ministry.” 

It also accuses leaders of hesitating to confront accused clergy members and neglecting to notify parishioners about potential abusers, sometimes decades after allegations surfaced against accused members. 

The 2018 review launched under Raoul’s predecessor, Lisa Madigan, in response to Pennsylvania’s comprehensive 2018 report, which revealed over 1,000 identifiable victims and 300 credibly accused priests across six dioceses. The review aimed to investigate the significant disparity between the Church’s disclosed number of credibly accused clergy members and the actual number.

The report sheds light on the effects of abuse on survivors, specifically mentioning accusers who struggle with suicidal thoughts and resort to substance abuse, such as drugs and alcohol, to cope with “anxiety and feelings of unworthiness.”

Raoul stated during the conference that the report aimed to provide “public accountability and a measure of healing to survivors who have long suffered in silence.” Additionally, he affirmed that the dioceses had upheld their commitment to cooperate with the investigation.

The DePaulia Opinions and Design Editor Jake Cox also contributed to this story’s reporting.