Lawyers: Church Hid Abuse of Client's Brother
By Cathleen Falsani firstname.lastname@example.org
April 7, 2006
Lawyers for a 31-year-old Chicago man who filed a lawsuit Thursday against the Archdiocese of Chicago and a former priest he accuses of sexually abusing him in the late 1980s say officials with the archdiocese hid the fact the man's older brother also was abused by the same priest.
Despite numerous conversations with attorneys for the archdiocese about their client's allegations, Marc Pearlman and Jeff Anderson, attorneys for the Chicago man who filed his lawsuit under the name "Juan Doe 104," said only after they filed the suit Thursday morning did they learn that the archdiocese had settled a sexual abuse claim against the Rev. Robert D. Craig brought by Doe 104's older brother in 1989.
Craig, a priest who was removed from ministry in 1990 because of allegations of sexual misconduct with minors and who resigned from the priesthood in 1993, could not be reached for comment.
While Colleen Dolan, Cardinal Francis George's spokeswoman, confirmed the archdiocese had received "several" allegations of abuse against Craig and that there was "one settlement," she vigorously defended the actions of attorneys for the archdiocese.
"We cannot, nor could the attorneys, divulge the names involved in settlements," Dolan said. "If victims want to, they can. We can't. We never can. We never do. It would be unbelievably unethical to do so."
'This was not a mistake'
Pearlman insisted that archdiocesan attorneys deliberately misled him and Anderson.
"They wrote us a letter in 2004 suggesting that the mother of this client came forward in 1990 and . . . they suggested that it was the abuse of this kid, when they knew it was his brother, but they never disclosed that," Pearlman said. "This was not a mistake."
In an interview with the Sun-Times, Doe 104 said his mother and brother, who is five years older, told him about the earlier abuse and settlement a few months ago because there had been a gag order in the settlement.
"I was shocked," Doe 104 said. "He didn't warn me. I was a little bit mad at him. But we've talked about it and he's helping me through my situation."
Doe 104 said Craig, who was ordained in 1974 and served several parishes in Chicago including St. Aloysius, All Saints/St. Anthony, St. Ann and St. Mark, according to archdiocesan records, sexually abused him from 1987 to 1990, beginning when he was 13 years old. Both Doe 104 and his older brother were altar boys, he said.
Most of the sexual abuse occurred in the St. Mark rectory, he said.
"My brother had graduated from grammar school already and that's when it started," he said. "[Craig] would take us on summer trips, to the zoo and to movies."
Anderson and Pearlman said Doe 104's older brother told them he did not know George had said publicly on several occasions since 2002 that all victims of clergy abuse had been released from confidentiality agreements in previous settlements with the archdiocese. "He didn't even want to talk to us," Pearlman said. "He was petrified."
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