Archdiocese of Chicago Named in Another Priest-Abuse Lawsuit

The Associated Press, carried in The Pantagraph
April 14, 2006

CHICAGO - Attorneys representing a man who said he was sexually abused by a Roman Catholic priest a decade ago filed a lawsuit Thursday against the priest and the Archdiocese of Chicago, which they accused of covering up prior abuse by the priest.

The lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court accuses the Rev. James C. Hagan, 59, of battery and child sexual abuse and the archdiocese of negligence and fraud.

The plaintiff, identified only as "John Doe 105," is a Chicagoan in his early 20s who formerly was an altar boy at St. Denis Church on the city's southwest side, said one of his attorneys, Jeff Anderson of St. Paul, Minn.

Anderson, a leading lawyer for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said the plaintiff recently came forward to say he had been repeatedly molested by Hagan in 1994-96, when he was 13 and 14 years old and Hagan was serving at St. Denis.

Anderson said the archdiocese should have known the plaintiff was at risk because Hagan was transferred to St. Denis after complaints of alleged sexual abuse had been made against him in parishes in which he previously had served.

"The archdiocese didn't report these complaints to either the police or parishioners," Anderson said. "And as a matter of fact, this abuse occurred while the archdiocese was negotiating a settlement with a previous victim of Hagan's abuse. That's revolting."

Archdiocesan spokeswoman Colleen Dolan disputed some of Anderson's claims.

"Hagan was put on administrative leave in 1996. He has not been a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago since April 1997," Dolan said. "The archdiocese has shared information on allegations pertaining to Hagan and all allegations that it has received - including those from anonymous sources - with authorities and continues to do so."

Dolan also denied that church officials allowed Hagan to serve as a priest after learning of possible abuse.

Hagan was ordained in 1974 and resigned his ministry in 1997. He now lives in the Chicago suburb of Berwyn and is included in a list on the archdiocese's Web site of priests with substantiated allegations of sexual misconduct with minors.

No public telephone listing for Hagan could be found Thursday.


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