Pedophile Priest’s Victim Settles With Archdiocese For $3.2M
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UPDATED 11/16/11 6:55 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — One of the victims of a sexually abusive priest has reached a $3.2 million settlement with the Chicago Archdiocese.
The victim, whose identity is not being released, sued the Archdiocese and Francis Cardinal George in 2007, on allegations that they failed to remove the Rev. Daniel McCormack from his post even though they knew of abuse allegations against him.
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McCormack was arrested in early 2006 on charges of criminal sexual assault, and ended up pleading guilty and serving a prison sentence on those charges. The boy in the lawsuit was the subject of one of the guilty pleas, attorneys said.
McCormack abused the boy between 5th and 7th grades. Attorneys said the abuse began when he was 10 years old.
“It’s been a long process, but he’s on a road to recovery,” said his attorney, David Abels. “Luckily he was able to step forward at a younger age where he can work on his issues and go to counseling and work through problems that arise due to this type of abuse.”
The Archdiocese says with this last settlement, all claims to which McCormack pleaded guilty will be solved, the Sun-Times Media Wire reported. But there are still pending civil cases against McCormack.
The Archdiocese declined to comment on the specifics of the settlement, but said in part, “The Archdiocese affirms its long-standing practice of reaching out to all victims of misconduct by clergy to resolve their claims in a just, compassionate and respectful way and continues to work for the healing of all those affected by the tragedy of child and adolescent sexual abuse.”
A new lawsuit filed this past August alleges that the Archdiocese knew as far back as 1992 that McCormack was molesting young boys, but swept it all under the rug until McCormack’s arrest some 14 years later.
In 1992, when McCormack was a seminarian at St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Archdiocese officials were notified that McCormack was a sexual deviant who had committed acts of misconduct and molestation. But no action was taken, the lawsuit alleged.
McCormack went on to be ordained as a priest, and was alleged to have asked a fourth-grade boy to pull down his pants in the sacristy of the historic Holy Family Church, 1080 W. Roosevelt Rd., in 1998.
More reports of misconduct came when McCormack was pastor of St. Agatha’s Parish, 3147 W. Douglas Blvd., beginning in 2000.
The allegations that ultimately led to criminal charges against McCormack date back to August 2005, but he was not removed from his post until the charges were approved three months later.
At the time, Cardinal George conceded that he should have launched an investigation against McCormack sooner. In early February 2006, he issued a letter of apology that said “our response… was sorely inadequate.”
The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests later called for Cardinal George to resign over the scandal. But the Archdiocese said the group had no authority to make any such demand, and that the cardinal would not be resigning.
The controversy continued after McCormack pleaded guilty in 2007. At that point, critics said his plea deal spared the archdiocese embarrassing testimony about mismanagement and foot-dragging in the case, and accused the church of being secretive.
McCormack spent 2 1/2 years in prison. He was technically paroled, but he is still being held in a state mental health facility, while he waits trial on whether he should be put away indefinitely as a sexually violent predator.
In August 2008, the Archdiocese settled with other victims of abuse by McCormack and other priests. Those settlements totaled $12.675 million.