Chicago Archdiocese Settles Sexual Abuse Suit for $2.3m
By Steve Schmadeke
November 27, 2013
|Daniel McCormack (center) arrives at the Cook County Criminal Courts Building in Chicago in 2008. (Michael Tercha, Chicago Tribune)|
The Archdiocese of Chicago will pay $2.3 million to settle a lawsuit brought by a man now in his early 20s who alleged he was repeatedly sexually abused by a notorious former pastor of a West Side Catholic church about a decade ago, the man's attorneys said Tuesday.
The alleged victim, identified in court papers as John Doe, said he was 11 or 12 when the abuse by Daniel McCormack began in 2004 inside the rectory and school building at St. Agatha's Catholic Church.
The lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court alleged that the abuse continued even after McCormack was questioned by Chicago police about allegations he had sexually abused another boy and didn't stop until just before he was arrested in early 2006.
McCormack, now 45, was removed from the priesthood after pleading guilty in 2007 to criminal sexual abuse charges involving five victims. He was sentenced to five years in prison but remains confined to a state mental health facility while a Cook County judge decides whether to commit him indefinitely as a sexually violent person.
Others have come forward with similar accusations of abuse against McCormack. Some of those lawsuits also have been settled by the archdiocese for millions of dollars.
In a statement released after the latest settlement was disclosed, the archdiocese said that no priest "with even one credible allegation of abuse" remains in active ministry.
"For many years, despite the sins and crimes of some clergy, the Archdiocese of Chicago has tried to be an instrument of God's mercy for those who have been sexually abused," said the statement, attributed to Cardinal Francis George.
Attorneys Jeff Anderson and Marc Pearlman, who represented John Doe, said the archdiocese has agreed to publicly release personnel files for 30 "credibly accused" priests, including McCormack, in January.
"Daniel McCormack was a serial offender who was given safe harbor by the archdiocese," Anderson said at a news conference in his downtown law offices. "This courageous survivor stood up, spoke out, brought suit."
Anderson said McCormack continued to molest children even after the archdiocese announced in 2002 that it had adopted a "zero tolerance" policy toward priests involved with sexual abuse.
"Yet they tolerated McCormack, a known risk, to be a priest in a very vulnerable parish," he said.