"Tag Team" of Former Priest, Ex-scout Leader Molested Kids
By Christy Gutowski
January 23, 2014
Two days after a trove of confidential church documents was released detailing decades of clergy sex abuse, one of the 30 former priests whose sordid history is among the files now faces new allegations.
A lawsuit filed Thursday in Cook County Court alleges Norbert Maday molested three boys as part of a “tag team” with a scout leader who volunteered under the priest’s supervision.
The men who brought the legal action also accuse the Archdiocese of Chicago of failing to protect them more than 40 years ago during the abuse.
The unnamed plaintiffs, all in their 50s, said the legal action was sparked after media accounts in recent years revealed the church’s troubled past of responding to pedophile priests.
Maday is accused in the lawsuit of inappropriately touching all three boys in separate acts from 1967 to 1973 while he was at St. Leo Catholic Church in Chicago and, later, at St Louis de Montfort in Oak Lawn.
Two of the men said they also were fondled by Thomas Hacker, a former Boy Scout leader and volunteer at the Oak Lawn church in the early 1970s, who often accompanied them on parish retreats.
In an interview at his lawyer's office, a 52-year-old south suburban man identified as John Doe 3 said Maday seemed to target boys like him at St. Louis de Montfort, who were being raised by single mothers.
The man told the Tribune he was inappropriately touched by both Maday and Hacker as a preteen during car rides, gym class and parish outings. He said he eventually told his mother, who confronted the parish school principal, but Maday remained in ministry.
The man said he overcame years of substance abuse and depression and remains in counseling. He has not returned to the Catholic church since he was young.
“It's hard to grasp that someone who you think is in God's word would take advantage of a child's innocence,” said the man, who asked not to be named publicly. “That's something that cuts me real deep.” Officials at the archdiocese said they had not seen the lawsuit and did not have a response.
Maday, 75, served part of a 20-year prison term in Wisconsin after being convicted in 1994 of molesting two other boys during parish outings. He is a registered sex offender still living in the state, according to Wisconsin authorities.
Hacker, 77, has been imprisoned in Illinois since the late 1980s for the aggravated sexual abuse of three other children. Authorities said at the time of his 1988 arrest that they suspected Hacker abused at least 34 children. He had a 1970 felony conviction involving sexual misconduct of a minor in Indiana before volunteering under Maday’s supervision at the Oak Lawn church, the lawsuit states.
This is the first time the two convicted men have been named together in a lawsuit.
Attorney Christopher Hurley, who represents the three plaintiffs, described Maday and Hacker as a “tag team” of abusers. Hurley, who earlier sued Hacker on behalf of about 17 other plaintiffs, said the church’s decision to allow Maday to supervise Hacker is similar to having the “fox guard the hen house.”
Earlier this week, more than 6,000 pages of previously confidential files from the Chicago archdiocese were released as part of a court settlement. The records provide new insight into how the nation’s third-largest archdiocese shuttled accused priests from parish to parish and often failed to notify authorities when a complaint arose.
The files deal with 30 of the more than 65 priests in the archdiocese with substantiated child abuse allegations. Of the 30 men, 14 have died. None is in active ministry. The vast majority of the allegations occurred before 1988 and none after 1996, according to the archdiocese.
Church officials, including Cardinal Francis George, have been criticized for initially trying to help Maday win an early release from prison. But as more child abuse allegations surfaced, George wrote to Wisconsin parole officials withdrawing his earlier support. Maday was defrocked in late 2007.
When asked during a 2008 deposition about his correspondence with Maday, including a 2000 letter, George spoke of his desire to help Maday face his crimes and get treatment.
“This is a father’s letter to a son in prison, a sinful son, and it was designed to give him some hope and encouragement,” he said, according to records.