Chicago Archdiocese to Pay $4.45m to Settle Priest Abuse Lawsuits
By Manya Brachear Pashman
April 25, 2017
|The Rev. Daniel McCormack arrives at the Cook County Criminal Courts Building on July 2, 2007. The Archdiocese of Chicago recently reached an agreement to pay $4.45 million to settle three lawsuits brought by three men who allege they were sexually abused more than a decade ago by McCormack.|
The Archdiocese of Chicago will pay $4.45 million to settle three lawsuits brought by three men who allege they were sexually abused more than a decade ago by former Roman Catholic priest, basketball coach and convicted sex offender Daniel McCormack, the plaintiffs' attorney said Tuesday.
According to Mark Brown, the attorney for the three plaintiffs, two brothers reached settlements in late January. They accused McCormack of sexually abusing them more than once during their participation in an after-school program called S.A.F.E. at Our Lady of the Westside Catholic School in the mid-2000s. The other man, who played basketball for the team McCormack coached at Our Lady of the Westside, reached his settlement April 20.
A spokeswoman for the archdiocese said she could not discuss the case "out of respect for the privacy of those involved," but did confirm the settlement had been reached.
Now 24 years old, the former basketball player, identified in court papers as John Doe, said in an interview with the Tribune that he told his parents and the archdocise about the abuse once he was out of Our Lady of the Westside and attending high school. The archdiocese offered to cover the cost of therapy, he said.
After not completing college and losing a job, the accuser decided with the help of his therapist to seek financial compensation.
Allegations against McCormack became public in 2006, four years after the late Cardinal Francis George urged Catholic bishops to remove any priest from ministry for a single act of sexual abuse.
But when notified that McCormack had been taken into custody by Chicago police in August 2005 for allegedly abusing a boy, the cardinal did not remove him from ministry at St. Agatha Catholic Church, where he served as pastor until a second arrest in January 2006.
McCormack pleaded guilty in 2007 to fondling five boys ages 8 to 12 at the church and was permanently removed from the priesthood. When he came up for parole in 2010, the Cook County state's attorney and the Illinois attorney general petitioned the court to have him committed under the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act. As those proceedings continue, McCormack remains in a state mental health facility.
McCormack alone has cost the archdiocese millions of dollars in settlements, and there are additional cases pending. Insurance no longer covers any claims involving McCormack. So far, the sale of unused real estate has covered the costs.