[Note from Below we present the deposition of Cardinal Francis E. George, O.M.I. in several download sizes, and the 74 individual deposition exhibits in easy-to-download formats, bundled and also listed with individual descriptions. The exhibits include documents from the personnel files of Norbert Maday (15 exhibits), Joseph R. Bennett (33 exhibits), and Daniel McCormack (14 exhibits).]

Francis Cardinal George gave a deposition on January 30, 2008 as part of the mediation of a group of legal claims brought by victims of childhood sexual abuse against the Archdiocese of Chicago. The purpose of the deposition was to allow the victims' attorney, Jeffrey R. Anderson, to ask Cardinal George questions to assist in resolving those claims fairly and promptly.

At a deposition only the witness provides testimony under oath. The words of the attorneys are not testimony. The attorney taking the deposition asks questions that he or she chooses. Accordingly, a deposition is not meant to provide a full view of a case.

The attorney taking a deposition also has wide latitude in the use of documents. He or she can present documents from the witness' files or other documents that the witness may not have seen. Documents created by attorneys, and statements made by attorneys, are not evidence and may not be accurate.

In a few places, the transcript and some exhibits have words blacked out. These are called "redactions." Their purpose is to protect the privacy of persons who are not directly involved in these cases, or to protect information that is required by law to be kept confidential. For the same reasons of privacy, a number of people discussed in the deposition are referred to as "John Doe," or by some other pseudonym. The parties have agreed that these redactions are appropriate in this case.

Other than the few instances of redaction, the written transcript reflects everything said by Cardinal George at the deposition. The complete transcript of the deposition is available by clicking on the link below.

Thomas F. Gibbons, Mediator


August 12, 2008

Deposition of Francis Cardinal George >>

PLEASE NOTE: This pdf document is 554 pages (25 MB). Download times could be significant.

[Note from The file provided by the Chicago archdiocese contains the text of the deposition and the exhibits. This file is too large for many users to download, so below we offer it in easier-to-download parts. We also offer the deposition as an enhanced easy-to-read webpage.]


- Complete deposition with pages displayed four-to-a-page, as posted on the website of Jeff Anderson & Associates (7.7 megabytes)
- Anderson display in two pieces for easier download 1 2 (about 4 megabytes each)
- One-to-a-page diocesan display, divided into downloadable pieces (about 2 megabytes each):
        - Pages 000-050
        - Pages 051-100
        - Pages 101-150
        - Pages 151-200
        - Pages 201-250
        - Pages 251-300
        - Pages 301-307

- The exhibits in four pieces as posted on the websites of Jeff Anderson & Associates and the Chicago archdiocese:
        - Exhibits A to D (from the Chicago archdiocese website)
        - Exhibits 1 to 100 (from the Anderson website)
        - Exhibits 106 to 216 and AOC 1 (from the Anderson website)
        - Exhibit 217 (from the Chicago archdiocese website)

- The exhibits as individual PDFs. These files were created from the archdiocesan PDF of the deposition and exhibits (except that we used the Anderson copy of Exhibit 118, because the archdiocesan version is missing the last page). The brief summaries of each document were written by the staff of We have also provided the page number of the deposition where each document is first discussed. This is the number marked on the physical page, not the PDF page number. Note that there are gaps in the exhibit numbering, because plaintiffs' attorney Anderson selected documents to discuss from a larger set of documents that were sequentially numbered before the deposition began. Only the documents that were discussed were released. When a document pertains to a particular priest, we have so noted. Those priests are Norbert Maday (15 documents), Joseph R. Bennett (33 documents), and Daniel McCormack (14).]

Exhibit Description Priest
5 A Anderson request for documents to use in the deposition from the files of Ryniecki, Steel, Ruge, and Becker. (1/24/08)  
5 B Cover letter with requested files delivered 1/29/08, the day before the deposition.  
5 C Cover letter with "declassified" McCormack files delivered by archdiocese to Anderson on 1/29/08.  
6 D Cover letter and list of recently accumulated files of 12 priests delivered to Anderson on 1/29/08.  
53, 287 1 Archdiocese of Chicago's list of priests against whom there are substantiated allegations.  
7 2 List of victims; sealed to protect their identities and not included in the exhibit collection.  
248 21 Letter from Cardinal Francis E. George OMI to Governor Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin, thanking him for arrangements made for Rev. Norbert Maday to view his deceased mother's body in prison. (9/8/97) Maday
249 22 Letter from Vicar for Priests Lawrence P. McBrady urging Maday to accept a prison program that might lead to early release. (10/31/97) Maday
251 23 Letter from Cardinal George to Maday about early release and the "lack of action" of Maday's lawyer. (5/23/98) Maday
253 25 Letter showing that Maday was paid a stipend by the archdiocese while he was in prison, and that the stipend was being increased. (12/1/98) Maday
254 26 Letter to the Parole Board from Vicar for Priests Rev. Daniel P. Coughlin describing in detail how the archdiocesan "Review Board oversees the entire life situation" of a priest like Maday. The archdiocese "would be pleased to receive" Maday into this system. (5/20/99) Maday
257 28 Letter from Vicar for Priests McBrady stating that his office is "looking for ways to bring about [Father Norb's] freedom." (10/4/99) Maday
259 29 Letter from Cardinal George to "Father Norb" saying that George prays for Maday's release from prison. (1/12/00) Maday
260 30 Memo from Vicar for Priests McBrady suggesting that Cardinal George ask Green Bay bishop Aloysius J. Wycislo to lobby for commutation of "Norb's" sentence. (2/16/00) Maday
261 31 Letter from Cardinal George to "Norb" referencing efforts to get Maday's sentence reduced, (3/6/00) Maday
263 32 Letter to "Norb" stating that Cardinal George "remains committed to doing whatever needs to be done" to "gain your early release." (7/26/00) Maday
264 34 Letter from Cardinal George to "Norb" saying, "Let us pray for an early release." (9/7/00) Maday
264 39 Letter from Cardinal George to "Norbert" thanking him for birthday greetings and stating that "we" have tried a "number of avenues" to gain a reduced sentence or parole for Maday. (2/4/02) Maday
266 40 Memo from Review Board summarizing allegations against Maday and stating that the recommendation that he be laicized was repeated. (6/25/03) Maday
269 42 Mentioned in the deposition but not discussed, and not included in exhibit collection.  
303 45

Memo from Review Board summarizing allegations against Maday and recommending that Cardinal George request that Maday's sentence be extended. This is one of two documents introduced by defendant's attorney James A. Klenk in his brief cross examination (1/20/07)

See also Maday document below: AOC 1.

43, 73 49 Terry D. Childers' report on deficiencies in the archdiocesan accused priest monitoring system. (3/7/06)  
151 54 Letter from victim's lawyer Thomas J. Fleischmann to archdiocesan lawyer James A. Serritella and Leah McCluskey, Fitness Review Administrator, attaching a polygraph report confirming allegations of sexual abuse by Rev. Joseph R. Bennett, and alluding to two other victims. (11/12/02 and 10/14/02) Bennett
152 55 Letter from McCluskey to Cardinal George, stating that the Review Board had decided that there was "insufficient information" on the allegation corroborated by the polygraph report. (1/14/03) Bennett
157 57 Letter from Bennett to Vicar for Priests James T. Kaczorowski, confirming a vacation to Cancun that Bennett is taking with his monitor, Rev. Leonard A. Dubi. (2/9/03) Bennett
158 59 Letter from McCluskey to Cardinal George stating that by unanimous vote, the Review Board "recommends that there is no reasonable cause to suspect that the misconduct occurred." George appends a handwritten note accepting the finding and closing the inquiry. (4/28/03) Bennett
164 62 Letter from victim's lawyer David E. Haynes following up a week later on McCluskey's promise to apprise Cardinal George immediately of an allegation of "horrific abuse" by Bennett and another person. The second person's name is redacted. (3/11/04) Bennett
167 63 Letter from Anderson to Serritella and John C. O'Malley at the chancery, complaining that Bennett is still in ministry, despite the "horrific abuse" complaint made over a month before. (5/14/04) Bennett
168 64 Detailed memo reporting interview by McCluskey of sister of alleged Bennett victims. (11/3/04) Bennett
169 65 Memo confirming Review Board's decision that allegation "warrants additional investigation." Seven requests for McCluskey are listed, including that Dubi not be Bennett's monitor. (3/29/05) Bennett
173 66 Another Review Board memo, showing that despite the previous memo, Dubi is still Bennett's designated monitor, although the memo expresses concern that Dubi is on sabbatical. (7/16/05) Bennett
174 67 Xerox copy of article, "Cardinal removes another priest," by Manya A. Brachear, Chicago Tribune. (2/2/06) Bennett
180 72 Letter from McCluskey to Cardinal George, stating that the Review Board has found reasonable cause to suspect that alleged misconduct occurred. The Board recommends that Bennett be removed from ministry and monitored. George handwrites his acceptance below, but states in the deposition (p. 184) that Bennett was allowed to remain in ministry while his canonical defense was arranged. (10/15/05) Bennett
180 73 Letter from McCluskey to Cardinal George, stating that the Review Board has found reasonable cause to suspect that alleged misconduct occurred. The Board recommends that Bennett be removed from ministry and monitored, but says that they "did not reach a determination on all aspects of the allegation." George handwrites his acceptance below. (10/15/05) Bennett
186 74 Memo forwarding to Cardinal George documentation regarding two allegations against Bennett. (11/2/05) Bennett
189 75 Letter from Cardinal George to McCluskey stating that he has reconsidered one of the allegations and needs more time to decide. (11/7/05) Bennett
198 76 Memo from Rev. Edward D. Grace about a dermatologist's report on marks that one Bennett accuser had identified. (11/14/05) Bennett
203 78 Memo describing a Review Board meeting with Cardinal George and Bennett's canon lawyer, about dermatologist reports and canonical representation. (12/3/05) Bennett
205 79 Letter from Anderson to McCluskey asking the status of the Bennett allegation. (12/7/05) Bennett
233 81 Letter from Cardinal George to a Bennett supporter, saying that the complex investigation has taken a long time, and that the Review Board "still believe some form of sexual abuse took place." But "I hope Father Bennett is innocent of these allegations." (7/14/06) Bennett
209 82 Memo to chancery officials attaching a new allegation received 2/2/06 against Bennett and opening an investigation. Vicars of Mundelein and St. Joseph seminaries were copied. (2/9/06) Bennett
211 84 Letter from Co-Vicar for Priests Vincent F. Costello to Bishop Dale J. Melczek of Gary IN, asking that Bennett live in a house in the Gary diocese and be assigned a monitor. Restrictions are detailed. (2/3/06) Bennett
213 85 Dated earlier but numbered after the other letter to Melczek. Vicar General George J. Rassas asks Bishop Melczek to allow Bennett to live in the Gary diocese. (2/1/06) Bennett
215, 289 86 Additional allegation received 2/6/06 through priest from sister of victim of abuse in 1963-64; the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS) investigator does not want to speak with the archdiocese. (4/25/07) Bennett
216 89 Allegation of abuse at Mundelein, received 2/9/06 and formalized 2/14/06; victim represented by Patrick Reardon. Bennett
217 90 Memo from McCluskey documenting two voicemails and a 2/8/06 phone call with a man who alleged Bennett raped him at St. John de la Salle parish when the boy was age 11 or 12 and living at the Audy Home. Other boys were also abused. (2/10/06) Bennett
218 91 Letter apparently from a priest familiar with St. John de la Salle church, stating that parishioners talked of Bennett being sexually active with women in the late 1960s and having teenage boys over to drink at the rectory. (2/14/06) Bennett
220 92 Memo documenting a new allegation against Bennett received on 2/24/06. Vicars of Mundelein and St. Joseph seminaries were copied. (2/27/06) Bennett
220 93 Letter from archdiocesan lawyer O'Malley to Assistant State's Attorney Shauna Boliker of Cooks County, notifying her that DCFS was investigating alleged abuse by Bennett at Holy Ghost church. (3/23/06) Bennett
223 94 Memo from McCluskey on phone call from DCFS about allegation against Bennett. See another Bennett document. (5/3/06) Bennett
224 98 Memo from McCluskey about conversation with DCFS investigator whose superior did not want her to close the Bennett case. McCluskey described questions she answered. (6/29/06) Bennett
206 100

A "formal deposition" of Rev. Francis Q. Kub by Rev. Daniel A. Smilanic, archdiocesan Promoter of Justice, and McCluskey, discussing Bennett's having teenage boys in his room at the St. John de la Salle rectory in the late 1960s. Some of the boys were from the Audy Home. When Kub, then the parish administrator, told Bennett to stop, Bennett sent Dubi, who pushed Kub into a corner and told Kub to "keep your nose out of Bennett's business." (8/7/06)

See also Bennett documents below: 211, 212, and 213.

73, 100, 293 106 Defenbaugh report assessing archdiocesan failures in the Rev. Daniel McCormack case. McCormack
107 111 Memo by McCluskey describing conversation with Sr. Mary Therese Cusack, principal of Holy Family school 1985-2000, about 10/99 complaint by mother about McCormack's abuse of her boy. Auxiliary bishop John R. Manz had set McCormack up with the all-school Mass because, being at the seminary, McCormack said he "missed kids." Cusack informed Mr. Robert Davies, who advised her not to inform the vicariate, and she gave him a timeline, suspecting that McCormack had paid off the family. Cusack confronted McCormack: "Dan, did you ask the boy to take his pants down?" He would only say, "I used very bad judgment." She talked with Sr. Mary Therese Freymann, who said, "Fr. Dan is at it again." Freymann wondered whether Barbara Westrick, principal of St. Agatha's school, should be told. (2/12/06) McCormack
111 115 Memo of phone call that Mary Ann Zrust, the receptionist at the Vicar for Priests Office, took from a woman concerned about "the number of teenage boys that are always in the rectory," and that McCormack "took several boys to MN for shopping" and emptied all staff out of the rectory to make room for rapping teenagers. Although she gave her phone number "in case we want to return the call," the Vicar for Priests did not call her or otherwise follow up. According to the stamp at the top, the memo was faxed by Laura A. Neri-Palomino at the Office of Professional Responsibility to John O'Malley at the Office of Legal Services, with the note, "F.Y.I. Per Leah [McCluskey]". (9/5/03) McCormack
116 117 Memo from Vicar General Rassas, now auxiliary bishop, asking Vicars for Priests Grace and Costello whether McCormack should be made dean. A handwritten note under the memo reads, "We Suggested NO Because of Boys in Rectory Letter." In his deposition, Cardinal George said he never saw the note and didn't recognize the handwriting. He made McCormack dean. (7/13/05) McCormack
119 118 Memo by Vicar for Priests Grace, describing a call he got during McCormack's first arrest on 8/30/05, for sexually abusing a 7-year-old boy. The detectives found the boy credible. Grace told McCormack "not to discuss the matter further with the police." An Assistant State's Attorney met with McCormack at the jail, and he refused to answer her questions. He was released late that same night. Grace arranged legal representation and suggested monitoring by Rev. Thomas P. Walsh, writing that he would arrange it with McCluskey. (8/31/05) McCormack
127 124 Memo by McCluskey about phone call from mother of boy whose abuse led to McCormack's first arrest. The boy had told his mother about the abuse when they planned to move back to Chicago. The mother referred to McCormack as a pervert and would not give McCluskey more information without consulting her own lawyer. The memo's heavy redactions include one full sentence and one 12-line paragraph. (9/15/05) McCormack
129 126 Letter from members of the Review Board to Cardinal George, stating that they recommended McCormack's removal to George in a 10/17/05 meeting, and "you chose not to act." They resent that the Board is now being blamed. (1/28/06) McCormack
135, 295 127 Letter from DCFS to McCormack, notifying him that the agency's investigation has found credible evidence that he has molested a child, and that his file will remain on the State Central Register for 50 years, where background checks for certain jobs can access the information. (12/14/05) McCormack
138 128 Memo by McCluskey about a chancery meeting to discuss an allegation against McCormack. Two participants will attend a meeting that Principal Barbara Westrick is having on 1/19/06 with the Chicago police, who are investigating the allegation. A seven-line block is redacted from this letter, followed by: "As per Mr. Fitzgerald, there is nothing in Fr. McCormack's school files regarding any incidents involving minors." McCormack was teaching math and coaching basketball from 9/05 until yesterday, and pulled three boys out of class to take them to an arcade/restaurant/bar in 12/05. (1/19/06) McCormack
146 134 Letter from Smilanic to McCluskey submitting two allegations to the Review Board without waiting "until a parent formalizes it in the customary manner." (1/24/06) McCormack
31 200 Oath taken by cardinals during the ceremony at which they are promoted.  
56 201 Priests removed/resigned post-1997 for allegations prior to 1997. This table was assembled by Anderson.  
58 202 Priests removed post-1997 for allegations made post-1997. This table was assembled by Anderson.  
68 203 George's letter to parishioners about the McCormack situation, apologizing "for the great embarrassment every Catholic must now feel in the light of media scrutiny of these events." The correct process did not occur in McCormack's case, but he was not "protected." (2/8/06) McCormack
48 204 Transcript of George interview. "Sometimes people aren't real well informed. ... This abuse happened a generation ago ... except McCormack of course, which is a terribly devastating period in my life and the life of this Church." (11/18/07) McCormack
97 206

Xerox copy of article: "Bishop: I Was More Worried about Priest's Drinking," by Susan Hogan, Chicago Sun-Times (11/14/07)

See also McCormack document below: 217.

278 208 Lawsuit "to have the Archdiocese produce all documents regarding the molestation of children by its agents for court supervision, to release the names of all agents accused of molesting children to the court and to the public, and to enjoin the Archdiocese from destroying any documents regarding suspected childhood sexual abuse by its agents." Complaint in Mother Doe 100 v. Archdiocese of Chicago, Cause No. 06CH02017, Circuit Court of Cook County IL (1/31/06)  
160 211 Memo from McCluskey documenting a 12/3/03 phone call from a woman alleging that as a girl at St. John de la Salle church, she was sexually abused in 1967-69 by Bennett and the nun who taught CCD. (12/19/03) Bennett
194 212 Memo from Vicar for Priests Grace about canonical representation for Bennett and possible weaknesses of a complaint that identified marks on Bennett's skin. (11/9/05) Bennett
201 213 Sample photograph from the Mayo Clinic (not of Bennett) presented by Anderson to show what keratosis looks like. Bennett
274 214 Declaration of Cardinal Norberto Rivera in a different case. He states (p. 3-4), "The phrase 'family and health reasons' was used within the Church to warn that a priest suffers from some sort of problem." (3/26/07)  
30 216 Curriculum vitae of Cardinal George (1/29/08)  
282 217 Archdiocesan list of allegations against McCormack and their status (7/10/07) McCormack
286 AOC 1 Letter from Cardinal George to the Wisconsin Parole Commission, stating that "the situation has changed" since the 5/20/99 letter from Vicar for Priests Coughlin. Now the archdiocese "is not capable of receiving [Maday] back into our system." Because the archdiocese "lacks the resources to monitor" Maday, George will soon request Maday's laicization. His presence as a priest in Chicago would undermine "the credibility and ministry of all priests." And because of "the history and widespread knowledge of his situation," Maday's return "would be a cause of scandal to the Catholic faithful and to all people." (4/11/07) Maday










Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.