June 18, 2020
By Emily K. Coleman
The former head of a Waukegan church, who was sentenced to four years under Illinois Department of Corrections supervision in the 1990s for sexually abusing children, is the subject of a lawsuit filed in Cook County late last month.
The anonymous plaintiff accuses Richard Kearney, who was the head pastor at Annunciation of Our Lady Episcopal Church — now in Gurnee but at the time located in Waukegan — of abusing him in the 1980s when he was between the ages of 5 and 11, according to the complaint.
The lawsuit also names the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago and the church itself, arguing that church officials knew, or should have known, Kearney had a history of abusing children.
“We are saddened that (the plaintiff’s) attorney has found it necessary to file suit against the diocese,” the Rev. Courtney Reid, the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago’s director of operations, said in a statement.
Reid said the diocese has been “in conversations with him for more than a year in an effort to determine the facts in this case” and, eight months ago, had been “promised the opportunity to examine records that might help us to determine whether (the plaintiff) was sexually abused in the early 1980s by Richard D. Kearney, a former priest of the diocese.
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