Archdiocese Settles Abuse Suit for Nearly $1.4m

By Carla K. Johnson
Fort Mill Times

December 19, 2008

CHICAGO The Archdiocese of Chicago said Thursday it has agreed to pay nearly $1.4 million to a man who claims he was sexually abused as a boy by a Catholic priest.

The Rev. Chester Przybylo allegedly abused the then-teenaged Polish immigrant at Five Holy Martyrs parish from 1987 through 1992, said attorney Jeff Anderson, whose St. Paul, Minn.-based firm represents the alleged victim.

Documents show the archdiocese was aware of allegations against Przybylo, who was never criminally charged, Anderson said.

The abuse allegedly began when the boy was 13 years old, according to a lawsuit filed in 2006. He is now in his 30s, married and living in Illinois, Anderson said.

Przybylo is now a pastor at an independent church in the Chicago suburb of Winfield. A phone message left Thursday for him at that church was not immediately returned.

Przybylo has filed a slander suit against his accuser, the accuser's attorneys and two organizations involved in priest abuse cases.

He was never a priest of the Chicago archdiocese, but ministered in archdiocese parishes, spokeswoman Susan Burritt said in a statement that confirmed the $1.375 million settlement.

"Documents released as part of the settlement reflect protocols and practices for addressing sexual misconduct by priests that were accepted at the time," Burritt said. "Learning that many of these practices were ineffective, Cardinal (Joseph) Bernardin reformed Archdiocesan policies in 1992. Under Cardinal Francis George, the process for addressing child sexual abuse allegations and the needs of abuse survivors has been further strengthened and improved."

Advocacy group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is a plaintiff in Przybylo's slander lawsuit. Barbara Blaine, president of SNAP, criticized the diocese for not releasing the documents on Przybylo earlier.

"How many more documents like this are they keeping secret?" Blaine asked at a news conference.

The settlement comes one day after the archdiocese agreed to pay $1.2 million to a teenage boy and his mother, who claimed he was sexually abused by Daniel McCormack, the former pastor of St. Agatha Catholic Church.

McCormack pleaded guilty last year to abusing five children and is serving a five-year prison sentence. The teenager in the $1.2 million settlement wasn't part of McCormack's criminal case.

In August, Chancellor Jimmy Lago said the archdiocese had paid a total of $65 million over three decades to settle about 250 claims.


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