Great SOL reform in IL to go into effect in Jan 2014.

President’s Corner

Greetings! This is the inaugural issue of a Newsletter from the newly combined group formed by the merger of Chicagoland – Voice of the Faithful and Coalition of Concerned Catholics. These two groups merged almost a year ago because of the great similarity in their membership and their activities. The co-presidents are:

Bob Kopp                                Tony Jannotta

C-VOTF and CCC accomplishment is unprecedented in any state

The statute of limitations for child sexual abuse prosecutions was eliminated for both civil and criminal cases in Illinois.

It is time now to spread the word of this accomplishment far and wide. First, to give credit where credit is due so as to give thanks to those who made this possible. And second, to inform any and all survivors of sexual abuse of this accomplishment so that they can begin their healing process.

The power of regular citizens to coordinate their actions, to mobilize their meager resources, and to get great things done was on display in Illinois in early 2013. A few citizens were able to contact their legislators and to keep the pressure on them in order to achieve their goal.

Now the efforts must be directed at getting the message out to all of those who may become the innocent victims of child sexual abuse.

The Accomplishment’s Goal

The National Voice of the Faithful organization has three goals which are fully embraced by the local Chicagoland affiliate. They are:

  • To support survivors of clergy sexual abuse
  • To support priests of integrity
  • To shape structural change within the Catholic Church

So the effort toward elimination of the statute of limitations fit perfectly under the first goal.

In addition, the goal of the combined groups: Chicagoland Voice of the Faithful and the Coalition of Concerned Catholics, was the elimination of the civil and criminal statutes of limitation for the prosecution of child sexual abuse offenses.

Both of these goals have been accomplished in one legislative session. Editor’s note: It is amazing that this was accomplished in a state which has a $100 billion unfunded pension liability which was not solved in that same legislative session.

The Story Behind the Story

A core group of our members banded together in the beginning of 2013. At first they relied upon National VOTF’s “SOL Advocacy Guide”. Then they fine-tuned their internet skills and extensively used the Illinois General Assembly website.

The following is a list of some of the resources and offices that they have contacted and consulted with:

  • Marci Hamilton – SOL Reform website in NY
  • Justice Anne Burke – Illinois Supreme Court Justice, and member of USCCB’s original National Review Board to investigate accusations of clerical sexual abuse
  • Illinois Attorney General’s Office, Assistant Attorney General, and Director of Legislative Affairs
  • SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
  • Local and State Offices of Illinois Representatives, Senators and Staff Assistants
  • Catholic Conference of Illinois website, plus Director and Staff
  • Archdiocese of Chicago: Director of Office of Protection of Children and Youth
  • ICASA (Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault) website and especially the presiding General Counsel at the time, Lyn Schollett
  • ICASA Witness Testimony – Tiffany Denmark
  • VOTF / CCC – Fact Sheet with Talking Points
  • Core Group of Volunteers that made phone calls, sent e-mails, tracked bill progress through legislature, and documented steps

Action Steps Taken by Core Group

The core group could have written their own How To … book while advancing their agenda for the 2013 Spring Legislative Session. This article describes the diligent efforts that were taken to achieve their great success. Remember that this group numbered between 3 and 10 individuals.

The core group visited the Attorney General’s Office and met with the Assistant AG and the Director of Legislative Affairs for a strategy development session.

Local state Representatives and Senators (along with their local and state staff members) were contacted to build relationships and to seek sponsors for the bills that had been introduced in each chamber.

They contacted the Illinois Supreme Court Justice for her guidance and advice on how to proceed, who to contact, and insights into how the legislative process works.

They repeatedly contacted elected House of Representatives members, Senators, and their Staff Assistants in an effort to lobby for the bills and to distribute Fact Sheets with well researched talking points.

In addition, they contacted the Chairperson(s) of Sub-Committees, for example, the House Judiciary Committee and the Criminal Justice Committee.

They core group travelled to Springfield, IL so that they could attend State Committee Hearings, and to introduce themselves to the Representatives, Senators, and their Staff Members.

This small group of individuals met with the Director, the Staff, and Witnesses of the State Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

The Catholic Conference of Illinois was contacted and the Director and his Staff were briefed on the efforts of this core group. In response the Catholic Conference stated that they would not challenge or oppose them in this legislative session.

The real nitty-gritty work began. The core group made numerous phone calls, sent many emails and letters to all of the above groups and individuals stating their view points and repeating their talking points.

On an almost daily basis throughout the legislative session they monitored and tracked the progress of the bills via the internet.

Whenever something changed, they responded. For example, when additional sponsors for the bills were signed up, they made contact with them to state their support and approval. When “naysayers” were discovered they contacted them to provide them with the core group’s talking points.

During this whole legislative session, the core group maintained contact with the supporters of the bills and challenged the opposition using the power of personal phone calls, e-mails, and personal visits to their offices.

The core group also held themselves together and supported each other via the now standard methods of contact; for example, online contact via e-mails, personal telephone calls, and face-to-face meetings.

Throughout this entire process they regularly reported back to their respective memberships and kept them informed of their communication efforts and the responses that they were getting.

Accomplishment Timeline

So what did the timeline of this accomplishment look like, what came first, what came next, etc?

In the Fall of 2012, the combined groups of the Chicagoland Voice of the Faithful and the Coalition of Concerned Catholics decided to focus their efforts on reforming the Illinois Statute of Limitations.

A strategy session was held to plan the SOL Core Group’s direction on January 9, 2013.

On January 29th the core group met with the Illinois Attorney General’s staff to discuss next steps. They also met with State Rep. David Harris who had agreed to sponsor the House Bill #HB-1063.

On February 7th they met again with Rep. Harris who had been successful in attaining some additional sponsors for the House Bill.

On February 19th they met with Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke for advice and guidance in how to proceed, and more knowledge of how the legislative process actually works.

Then on March 12th, they travelled to Springfield. They distributed Fact Sheets with Talking Points, attended the House Judiciary Committee meeting, and heard witness testimony of sexual assault (this session was hosted by ICASA – Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault).

Then on March 26th they met with Elaine Nekritz (who Chairs the House Judiciary Committee) to encourage her support on House Bill #HB-1063 and the Senate Bill #SB-1399.

During the month of April 2013 the core group monitored the progress of both bills as they wound through both legislative chambers.

In May as they began to sense the possibility of success, they went back to the phones to offer support and encouragement; they sent e-mails and letters to legislators and to their assistants.

Throughout this lengthy process the core group kept their organizational membership abreast of developments. This effort included the two parent organizations along with ICASA and SNAP.

Then in late May both bills (HB-1063 and SB-1399) were passed by the Illinois House of Representatives and the Illinois Senate.

In June 2013, both bills were sent to Illinois Governor Pat Quinn for his signature. On August 16th he signed both bills into law. Mission Accomplished! These new civil and criminal statutes of limitation take effect in January 2014.

The Illinois Legislative Votes

The House Bill (#HB-1063) eliminated the Statute of Limitations for criminal prosecutions. It passed the House on March 22nd on votes of: 109 yeas, 0 nays, and 0 presents. It passed the Senate with one Amendment on May 28th on votes of: 59 yeas, 0 nays, and 0 presents. The House of Representatives concurred with the Senate Amendment on May 30th on votes of: 117 yeas, 0 nays, and 0 presents. The final vote tally across all three votes in the House was: 285 yeas, 0 nays, and 0 presents.

The Senate Bill (#SB-1399) eliminated the Statute of Limitations for civil prosecutions. It passed the Senate on April 25th on votes of: 49 yeas, 4 nays, and 0 presents. The House passed this bill on votes of: 115 yeas, 0 nays, and 0 presents. The final vote tally across both chambers of the legislature for the Senate Bill was: 164 yeas, 4 nays, and 0 presents.

The grand total of all five votes in both chambers was: 449 yeas, 4 nays, and 0 presents. This was a staggering accomplishment!

Who Sponsored These Bills

The sponsors of these two bills are listed below. First, the House of Representatives Bill #HB1063 which had this short description: CRIM CD-LIMITATIONS-VICTIMS AGE. In the House the sponsors were:

Rep. Charles E. Jefferson         67th District                 Chief Sponsor

Rep. David Harris                     53rd District                 Chief Co-Sponsor

Rep. Elgie R. Sims, Jr.              34th District

Rep. Patricia R. Bellock                       47th District

Rep. Stephanie A. Kifowit        84th District

Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch       7th District

Rep. Jerry F. Costello, II          116th District

Rep. Sue Scherer                       96th District

Rep. Katherine Cloonen                       79th District

Rep. Sam Yingling                    62nd District

Rep. Kathleen Willis                77th District

Rep. Natalie A. Manley                        98th District

Rep. Martin J. Moylan             55th District

Rep. Mike Smiddy                    71st District

Rep. Deborah Conroy              46th District

Rep. Silvana Tabares                21st District

Rep. Patrick J. Verschoore       72nd District

Rep. La Shawn K. Ford             8th District

Rep. Arthur Turner                  9th District

Rep. Derrick Smith                  10th District

Rep. Marcus C. Evans, Jr.         33rd District

Rep. Esther Golar                     6th District

Rep. Eddie Lee Jackson, Sr.      114th District

Rep. Monique D. Davis                        27th District

Rep. Thaddeus Jones                29th District

Rep. Daniel V. Beiser               111th District

Rep. Jack D. Franks                 63rd District

Rep. Keith Farnham                 43rd District

Rep. Carol A. Sente                  59th District

Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia           83rd District

Rep. Michelle Mussman                       56th District

Rep. Dennis M. Reboletti         45th District

Rep. Jim Sacia                          89th District


In the Senate there were two sponsors for #HB1063.


Sen. Jacqueline Y. Collins         16th District                 Chief Senate Sponsor

Sen. Mattie Hunter                   3rd District


Second, the Senate Bill #SB1399 which had this short description: CIV PRO-CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE. In the Senate the sponsors were:


Sen. Terry Link                                   30th District                 Chief Sponsor

Sen. Ira I. Silverstein                8th District

Sen. Jacqueline Y. Collins         16th District

Sen. John G. Mulroe                 10th District

Sen. Heather A. Steans             7th District


In the House the following were sponsors for #SB1399:


Rep. Jack D. Franks                 63rd District                 Chief House Sponsor

Rep. Ann Williams                   11th District

Rep. Kelly M. Cassidy              14th District

Rep. David McSweeney                        52nd District

Rep. JoAnn D. Osmond                        61st District

Rep. Deborah Mell                   40th District

Rep. Silvana Tabares                21st District

Rep. Kathleen Willis                77th District

Rep. Cynthia Soto                    4th District

Rep. Maria Antonia Berrios     39th District

Rep. Jay Hoffman                    113th District

Rep. Martin J. Moylan             55th District

Rep. David Harris                     53rd District

Rep. Barbara Wheeler              64th District

Rep. Michelle Mussman                       56th District

Rep. Robyn Gabel                     18th District

Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie        25th District

Rep. Eddie Lee Jackson, Sr.      114th District

Rep. Robert F. Martwick          19th District

Rep. Pam Roth                                    75th District

Letters of Appreciation are due

If you recognize any of the above sponsors as your duly elected representative to the Illinois Legislature, you may wish to send them a Thank You note. These bills that are now the law across our state will have tremendous ramifications throughout the lives of many citizens in Illinois.

News on Daniel McCormack – pedophile

The Chicagoland-VOTF affiliate has been attending the criminal court hearings on the Daniel McCormack case for years. Each court proceeding requires travel to the Leighton Criminal Court complex at 26th and California Ave. The first goal of VOTF (see page 1) is to support the victims of sexual abuse. The following case facts have been extracted from the website for

While in the seminary from 1988-91, he was accused of abusing a male minor in Mexico. Then he was accused in October 1999 of abusing an altar boy. The Chicago Archdiocese ignored a September 5, 2003 warning about boys in his rectory. He was arrested on August 30, 2005 on credible allegations of child abuse; he was released after the archdiocese advised him to remain silent. The Chicago Archdiocese hierarchy appointed him dean on September 1, 2005, and he was kept in ministry. He was arrested again on January 20, 2006; at this time he was removed from ministry. On July 2, 2007 he pled guilty to abuse of 5 boys, some of them had been abused since his first arrest; McCormack was sentenced to 5 years. At this time the Archdiocese knew of 23 accusers.

Father McCormack was ordained in 1994. His first assignment was at St. Ailbe’s Parish (1994-1997) which had a school with 340 registered children. In 1997 he was assigned to St. Joseph College Seminary (1997-2000) at Loyola University where he held positions of Dean of Liturgy and then Dean of Students. His next assignment was at Holy Family in Chicago (1998-2000) where he was sacramental minister and then Pastor. His next assignment was at St. Agatha’s in Chicago (2000-2006) where he was Pastor. This parish had a sister location, Our Lady of the West Side Catholic School. He was a teacher and coach at the school which had 234 children. Cardinal George named McCormack the dean of Deanery III-D (which was comprised of the parishes in and around North Lawndale) in September 2005.

The Bishop Accountability website contains some 23 citations about Fr. McCormack; 16 newspaper articles, 5 TV coverages, a letter from SNAP to Cardinal George, and a letter from Cardinal George.

The next court proceedings will be after the holidays. On January 23, 2014, all pre-trial motions will be heard by Judge Dennis Porter. Then on February 24, 2014 jury selection will begin to determine whether McCormack is a sexually violent predator. If the jury finds him to be a sexually violent criminal, he could spend the remainder of his days incarcerated. At this point, when he does come to court hearings, he enters in handcuffs and his prison jumpsuit.

The Sexually Violent Persons Division in the Illinois Attorney General’s office is prosecuting this case. The attorneys working on this case are Joelle Marasco, Margaret Menzenberger, and Dawn Welke.

Join our group of four to represent the Chicagoland-VOTF members and support the survivors of sexual abuse during the trial beginning on February 24, 2014.


Other News from the Combined Organization

The combined organizations now hold their monthly meetings together. They are always held on the fourth Monday of the month. However, they alternate meeting locations between St. James Parish in Arlington Heights and Mary Seat of Wisdom in Park Ridge.

Supported Priest in MN Archdiocese

The pastor of a large Twin Cities parish took the unusual step of publicly questioning whether Archbishop John Nienstedt should continue in his post amid the widening priest sex abuse scandal. Fr. Bill Deziel used his church’s Sunday bulletin to call for a “do-over” of diocesan leadership. He also called for the archdiocese to release the names of 33 priests accused of sexually abusing children, and for the so-called vault in the archdiocese’s chancery offices to be opened and its files on priests inspected by law enforcement.

Both arms of the combined C-VOTF and CCC have spoken out in support of Fr. Deziel and his efforts against the harboring of clerics accused of abuse and for the development of a transparent model of governance. In the C-VOTF remarks the Bishop Selection Process was mentioned. More about the BSP in the next issue.

Donate to Chicagoland-Voice of the Faithful

You may donate to Chicagoland-VOTF to support their activities by sending your check to their address below.

If you make your check out to: Voice of the Faithful, it can be treated as a tax exempt charitable donation.

Chicagoland VOTF

P.O.Box 1476

Palatine, IL 60047

Contact Us

The combined organizations now have an email account where they may be contacted. It is:

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