Church Settles 14 Abuse Cases for $6.65 Million

Daily Southtown [Chicago IL]
May 29, 2007,dst_priests_529.article

The Archdiocese of Chicago has reached a $6.65 million settlement with 14 people who said they were sexually victimized by a dozen priests, according to the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Jeffrey Anderson.

The settlements end 14 civil cases involving allegations of sexual abuse by the priests, which began as early as 1962.

A spokeswoman for the archdiocese said none of the priests is in active ministry.

"These priests were removed a while ago," spokeswoman Colleen Dolan, who would not discuss any of the cases or the individual priests.

Of the cases settled, most of the priests had been publicly accused before.

Two of those accused -- Peter McNamara and Leonard Kmak -- had faced no legal action until the lawsuits were filed.

McNamara was ordained in 1970; Kmak in 1959.

The other priests involved in the settlements:

* Robert D. Craig, ordained in 1974.
* Joseph P. Kissane, 1969.
* William J. O’Brien, 1973,
* Ken Ruge, 1963.
* Robert Charles Becker, 1965.
* Robert E. Mayer, 1964.
* Walter E. Huppenbauer, 1957.
* Joseph L. Fitzharris, 1962.
* Vincent E. McCaffrey, 1978.
* Norbert J. Maday, 1964.

The first allegation of abuse, involving Kmak, dates to 1962. The most recent, involving Craig, dates to 1990. Most of the abuse occurred during the mid-1970s and the 1980s, according to the suits.

Four of the priests were charged with crimes and convicted. McCaffrey pleaded guilty to charges in 2002, Maday and Mayer were convicted in 1992, and Fitzharris was convicted in 1987.

Becker, Ruge and Kmak have died.


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