CHICAGO (CBS) — A man spoke in person and put his face on camera Tuesday, accusing the late Rev. John Smyth of sexually abusing him at Maryville Academy and Des Plaines and filing a lawsuit over it.
Clarence E. George Jr. spent time in dozens of foster homes before landing at Maryville. He now says Fr. Smyth raped him there. We first broke the story on CBS 2.
CBS 2’s Chris Tye on Tuesday shared the “give-and-take” that robbed an 11-year-old of almost everything.
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“That’s what I mean by give and take. He wanted something. I wanted something,” George said Tuesday, “and so I had to almost perform for him in order to get what I wanted.”
What George wanted was weekends off the Maryville Academy campus to spend with the family un-equipped to care for him full time.
“I wanted to see my family, and this was after maybe like three months of not seeing them,” George said.
And denying George weekend passes from Maryville was exactly the leverage Smyth needed, the lawsuit alleged.
In exchange, he says Smyth wanted his innocence and silence.
“I didn’t look at it as rape,” George said. “Again, he made me feel very comfortable – almost in a sense that what he was doing was OK.”
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In 2001, Fr. Smyth was part coach, part mentor at the academy. George said for him at the age of 11, Smyth was more predator and manipulator – given the luxuries of limitless access to children and the blind eye of the Chicago Archdiocese.
George said the abuse went on until he was 14.
“For them to not believe me, it feels very hard,” George said. “And that’s something that you deal with forever. That type of pain never goes away.”
Now 29 years old and working on a career in radio at Columbia College. George said he is sharing his name his face and his story – with a particular purpose in mind.
“I’m hoping to use the pain and hurt and turn it into joy, you know, and to be able to help other people that’s afraid to come forward because they’re afraid that their wife or their children might not show them the same respect,” George said.
George left, but Fr. Smyth would remain for a decade more. He was eventually pulled as allegations mounted.
He died in April.
Altogether, Smyth was at Maryville for 40 years – 10 of them after George sounded the alarm and told Maryville administrators. Smyth had decades of access to children in private.
Meanwhile, his very public funeral was full of accolades and appreciation.
“I wish he was still around today so that he would have to answer to what he did to me,” George said. “You know, what he did to me was he took advantage of me. He raped me.”
George is confident, though, that while Smyth dodged prosecution, he couldn’t escape judgement.
“I know that even though he’s not here, he still had to answer one way or another to the abuse that he has caused,” George said.
Jeff Anderson, the attorney representing Clarence George Jr., claims that even before taking on this case, he has secured $80 million from the Chicago archdiocese for clients abused by local clergy.
George’s lawsuit demands judgment against the Archdiocese “in an amount in excess of the jurisdictional limits of this Court,” but does not specify a dollar amount.
The Archdiocese said it does not comment on pending lawsuits. But it did say payment of these lawsuits comes from the sale of property.