(STMW) — Jesuit officials in Chicago will pay $19.6 million to settle a civil lawsuit brought by six men who claim they were molested by a former priest and onetime spiritual advisor to Mother Teresa, an attorney for the plaintiffs said Monday.
Donald McGuire, formerly of Oak Lawn, is serving a 25-year prison term after being convicted in Chicago in 2008 of federal charges that he brought a minor across state lines to engage in sex. He also was convicted in 2006 of molesting two boys in Wisconsin during the 1960s.
“The amount of the settlement is reflective of the magnitude of misconduct by the top Jesuit officials,” said Jeff Anderson, an attorney for the plaintiffs.
The $19.6 million settlement against the Chicago Province for the Society of Jesus was reached in January.
Officials for the Jesuit order — the Roman Catholic religious order to which McGuire belonged — could not be reached for comment Monday evening.
The plaintiffs range in age from their 20s to their 40s, and claim McGuire abused them when they were children between 1975 and the early 2000s, Anderson said.
Some of the six plaintiffs were also victims in the criminal cases against McGuire, and Anderson says evidence uncovered for the civil lawsuits was turned over to prosecutors in Chicago and Wisconsin.
“McGuire’s now in prison because of the evidence uncovered in these six suits,” Anderson said.
Attorneys involved in civil suits against McGuire previously filed documents alleging Jesuit officials either ignored or covered up accusations of abuse against him.
McGuire was once a prominent Jesuit who served as a spiritual advisor to Mother Teresa.
During his 2008 federal trial, two men McGuire molested as teens testified that the priest convinced them that they were “addicted” to masturbation and needed to be “educated” on how to stop it, and showed them X-rated films and magazines.
Another witness, “John,” said the priest shared a bed with him and induced him into giving what became naked, nightly massages when they traveled together to India, Russia, Poland and elsewhere.
Anderson said attorneys will hold a press conference Tuesday in Chicago to release more details on the now-defrocked priest’s travels, and a timeline of the abuse.
“I know some of McGuire’s victims. They have been deeply traumatized. But they have put their own misery aside in the effort to protect kids from him and warn parents about him,” said Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests.
“More truth about awful church crimes and cover ups is being revealed and for that, Catholics should be grateful,” Blaine said in a release.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)