Matt C. Abbott
February 24, 2006
Attorney investigating clergy pedophile ring was threatened
By Matt C. Abbott

Catholic attorney Sheila Parkhill, who for the past few years has been gathering information and evidence to eventually expose a clergy pedophile ring in the Chicago area, received an online greeting card from unknown individuals expressing concern for her and her husband's safety.

She took it as a threat.

"I responded to the e-mail, but it bounced back," says Parkhill. "I also contacted the company from which the e-card came, asking if there was any way to find out who sent it, but they said there really is no way to know."

The ring, known as The Boys' Club, was likely connected to the unsolved 1984 murder of Chicago professor and choir director Francis Pellegrini, who was found brutally stabbed to death just a day before a scheduled meeting with the then Chicago archdiocese vicar for priests.

The ring has been alluded to by priest-novelist-columnist Andrew Greeley an acquaintance of Pellegrini in his 1999 non-fiction book Furthermore! Memories of a Parish Priest (page 80):

"...But even in Chicago, the ring of predators about whom I wrote in the paperback edition of 'Confessions' remains untouched. There is no evidence against them because no one has complained about them and none of their fellow priests have denounced them. Those who have been removed are for the most part lone offenders who lacked the skill to cover their tracks. The ring is much more clever. Perhaps they always will be. But should they slip, should they get caught, the previous scandals will seem trivial...."

A footnote says:

"They are a dangerous group. There is reason to believe that they are responsible for at least one murder, and may perhaps have been involved in the murder of the murderer. Am I afraid of them? Not particularly. They know that I have in safekeeping information which would implicate them. I am more of a threat to them dead than alive."

In May 2004, Parkhill wrote a letter challenging Greeley to release the information he claims to have "in safekeeping."

To date, he has not responded to her.

Also, Parkhill was contacted via e-mail by an alleged victim of The Boys' Club. That person expressed fear and has not yet come forward.

Sheila Parkhill can be reached at

© Matt C. Abbott


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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He's been interviewed on MSNBC, NPR, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached at

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