CHICAGO — It took Jimmy Stevens over 20 years to speak about the abuse he says caused an extreme impact on his mental and emotional health.  

At one point, Stevens nearly took his own life. 

“I went to St. Francis Xavier until sixth grade, where the preschool is at,” said the now 54-year-old.

Stevens was just a boy when he says his priest sexually abused him at St. Francis Xavier.  

“It started in the late 70s,” he said.  

The Catholic clergy member is one of 451 who allegedly abused 1,997 children across all six dioceses in Illinois. A lengthy report released by Attorney General Kwame Raoul on Tuesday outlined the four-year investigation that led to the findings. 

Stevens said his abuse began when he was just 9 or 10 years old and sometimes involved other children. 

Stevens says the priest warned him not to tell anyone what was happening, threatening that his mother, who worked as a teacher for the archdiocese, would be fired. 

That fear, Stevens revealed, stuck with him through adulthood. 

“But I was scared to do anything on that, even being in my late 30s, early 40s, because I was afraid my mom would get fired from the archdiocese. I was afraid if her son said something, they would take it out on her and that’s why I didn’t say anything.” 

Stevens says the anger he felt for many years towards the church and the priest caused him to destroy his marriage, and push away friends.

Stevens told WGN News that he now attends therapy and chose to share his story so other survivors know they are not alone.