Story Summary

Chicago priest sex abuse scandal

Attorneys publicly released the files Tuesday on 30 Archdiocese of Chicago priests accused of sexually abusing children.

The 6,000 pages of church documentation date back more than 40 years during a time when the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin and current Francis Cardinal George were heads of the Chicago Archdiocese.

The documents show a pattern of secrecy and concern about activities that involved as many as 30 priests.

SEE THE ARCHDIOCESE OF CHICAGO DOCUMENTS HERE

Story Timeline
Previous Next
This story has 10 updates

As the stories keep on surfacing, the settlements with the Chicago Archdiocese just keep on coming. On Thursday– another case accusing disgraced former Priest Daniel McCormack.

John Doe was abused between 2001 and 2005.  He was in 8th grade when it started and the nightmare with McCormack did not end until he was a junior in high school.

On Thursday he walked away with over $3 million– but his nightmare is far from over.  The healing process can take a lifetime.

Bill Martin is describing his 25-year old African American client– once a Lawndale teen abused for four years by Daniel McCormack– a priest, teacher and mentor he trusted from st. Agatha in Chicago.  Bill Martin described how McCormack preyed on the boy during those years and violated the child’s trust.

Three lawyers alone have handled or are working through a minimum of 10 sexual abuse claims related to the disgraced priest.  Thursday’s settlement of $3.15 million took five years to reach.  Just last week, another group of lawyers unveiled 6,000 pages of documents revealing sexual misdeeds by 30 or so other priests. Those lawyers claim the archdiocese should have done more to protect children rather than their own reputation. These lawyers say Cardinal George specifically ignored the suggestions of the archdioceses’ review board to remove McCormack from proximity to children –yet he sent him back to St. Agatha again.

The archdiocese released a statement today that says in short:

“The abuse of any child is a crime and a sin. The Archdiocese encourages anyone who has been sexually abused by a priest, deacon, religious or lay employee, to come forward?

When asked how much money has been paid out or how many claims there have been related to the criminal acts of father McCormack–the archdiocese said they cannot release that information in order to protect the victims, which is all part of the settlement deal.

A new lawsuit is filed Thursday against the Chicago Archdiocese, on behalf of three people who say they were sexually abused as children by a now-defrocked priest.

The lawsuit comes in the wake of this week’s release of documents involving 30 accused priests.

2CaptureOne of the alleged victims say this week’s events made him angry and compelled him to talk after suffering for 40 years, abusing drugs, alcohol and depression.

He hasn’t been back in a Catholic church since he was 11-years-old.

The lawsuit is being filed by three plaintiffs who say they were sexually abused as children by now-defrocked priest Norbert Maday.

The alleged abuse came during periods of time when Maday was assigned to St. Leo Parish in Chicago and then to St. Louis de Montfort Catholic Church in Oak Lawn.

The lawsuit states that during his tenure at St. Louis de Montfort he suprvised then twice-convicted pedophile, Thomas Hacker, who was the Boy Scout Master there.

Hacker also coached sports at the parish, so he had access to kids in both capacities.

The suit says Hacker was prolific in his crimes, moving among troops and schools for 25 years, molesting by his own estimate more than 100 boys.

Two plaintiffs in the lawsuit allege abuse by both Hacker and Maday.

This lawsuit comes the same week as thousands of pages of secret court documents are released as part of a court settlement, and provide an unprecedented look at the failure of the Archdiocese of Chicago to protect children from abusive priests, quietly shuttling them from parish to parish.

A man known as “John Doe #3″ spoke to WGN on the condition his face and voice be disguised.

He says he was abused by both Maday and Hacker for more than a year, about seven times in all.

Maday, he says, befriended boys from broken homes like his own.

“John Doe #3″ says he would sit on the priest’s lap as they went on long drives, “He said he was going to grab me if I made a wrong turn or I swerved or something.  I think I swerved or cut the turn too sharp and he grabbed me, and stuck his hand down my pants.  And then he squeezed my genitals and I could feel his erection.”

The plaintiff’s attorney, Christopher Hurley said, “I was taught that when you go to confession you confess all of your sins, not some of them, not half of them.  And now we have the Archdiocese revealing half the records of the pedophiles that we know they know about and are withholding the other half.”

“John Doe #3″ says he hopes more victims will have the courage to come forward and tell their own stories.

He says telling his story has given him a little bit of personal peace.

There is no question in the minds of the attorneys representing abuse victims that the more than 6,000 pages of documents show a massive cover up by the Chicago Archdiocese that lasted decades and includes Francis Cardinal George.

The victims’ attorneys Jeff Anderson and Marc Pearlman were on WGN Morning News Wednesday, and Anderson said: “These documents reveal clearly that all of the top officials, both current and past, are involved in the concealment of the truth and the crimes, and that includes Cardinal George.”

The lingering question, however, is will these old documents bring new criminal charges. WGN’s legal analyst says probably not, and Anderson’s co-council nearly agreed Wednesday morning.

“In most cases, because of the failure to report, criminal statues have expired. But that doesn’t mean that the church itself shouldn’t take measures to discipline the people who are responsible for these actions,” Perarlman said.

Still, they implore law enforcement officials to scour the documents to look for any evidence a crime.  SNAP, a church abuse victims’ advocacy group, held a news conference Wednesday afternoon to demand action against Cardinal George and others.

“To law enforcement agencies: Be creative about pursuing any charges against the hierarchy. Whether it’s perjury, endangering kids, committing fraud, obstructing justice,” said Kate Bochte with SNAP.

The Chicago Archdiocese has repeatedly said mistakes were made and changes have been made to the way sexual abuse allegations are dealt with. The archdiocese says Cardinal George has helped lead the church to make these changes.

But in a 2008deposition concerning Daniel McCormack, a priest who preyed on young men, Anderson asked why the cardinal didn’t follow his own board’s recommendation to remove McCormack from the ministry.

George said: “They gave me that advice. I wish that I had followed it with all my heart.

“I don’t think Cardinal George or any of the other persons mentioned at yesterday’s conference had any intent to harm children at all,” said Jan Slattery with the Chicago Archdiocese.

Despite what these documents depict,  the statute of limitations will likely bar additional criminal charges.  But victims’ attorneys say while the courts may not be able to act there is one man who can take action that would set the tone for abuse cases going forward.

“Pope Francis, who promised a new day and a new way, discipline Cardinal George for his role and every other top official in this. He has the power and the obligation now that the truth is known,” Anderson said.

A day after the release of documents offering new details on Chicago priests accused of sexual abuse, one of the attorneys who represents dozens of abuse victims is calling on Pope Francis to discipline Francis Cardinal George.

Six thousand documents were released Tuesday as part of a court settlement involving 30 accused priests in the Archdiocese of Chicago.

They include cases in which accused priests were moved to different parishes even if they were facing multiple accusations.

“These documents reveal clearly that all the top officials, both current and past, are involved in the concealment of the truth and crimes — and that includes Cardinal George,” victims’ attorney Jeff Anderson said during an interview on the WGN Morning News today.

“I don’t think Cardinal George or any of the other persons mentioned at yesterday’s conference have any intent to harm children at all,” Jan Slattery, Director of the Archdiocese of Chicago Office for the Protection of Children and Youth, told WGN.

“I believe in consequences,” she continued.  “I believe in accountability.  I think the way this has all occurred and over the period of time it’s occurred has been difficult.  We receive an allegation by a victim on average 27 years after it occurred.”

Anderson believes castigation should now come from the Vatican.  “What needs to happen to Cardinal George is to have Pope Francis, who has promised a new day and a new way, discipline Cardinal George for his role, and every other top official in this,” Anderson said.  “He has the power and he has the obligation now that the truth is known.”

Jan Slattery from the Archdiocese Office for Protection of Children and Youth joins WGN Morning News.

Attorneys Jeff Anderson and Marc Pearlman, who represented more than 50 priest sex abuse victims, joins WGN Morning News

Thousands of documents detailing Catholic priests in Chicago took advantage of the children were finally released to the public Tuesday.

But what did Cardinal Francis George know? And could he have done more?

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE CHICAGO ARCHDIOCESE DOCUMENTS

Daniel McCormack was once a rising star. With time, however, his luster began to tarnish as his tendency to prey on young men was coming to light. Dozens of victims came forward and some cases are still in court today.

What the cardinal knew about them came up in a previously unpublished 2008 deposition. In it, lawyer Jeff Anderson grills the cardinal saying:

“It was the Review Board that recommended he be removed from ministry October 15th, was it not?”

Cardinal George: ‘They gave me that advice, yes. I wish that I had followed it with all my heart.”

Lawyer: “You didn’t follow it?”

Cardinal George: “I didn’t because I thought that they had not finished the case’s investigation. They hadn’t considered all the evidence.”

No conclusion, thought the cardinal. So, he did nothing to defrock the sexually active priest in the spotlight over and over again.

Father Norbert J. Mayday went to prison for 20 years for crimes of sexual abuse that date as far back as the 1970s. In a 2002 letter from the Cardinal, he offers hope that Fr. Mayday might see his sentenced reduced, or even get early parole. This, after Mayday was already behind bars.

The documents also show Father Joseph Bennett, an offender of enormous proportions, was kept in ministry almost four years after accusations about him surfaced.

In the legal proceeding Cardinal George said he “hoped accusers were wrong.”

They were not.

Cardinal George: “You always hope that the allegation is not quite what the accuser says it is.”

Lawyer: “Well, hope is one thing but facts are another and the facts are that there have been multiple allegations against this priest and instead of telling this writer (parishioner) this, you told him that you’re hoping he’s (Fr. Bennett) innocent, right?”

Cardinal George: “I would hope that he would be innocent. I don’t believe it, but who would not, that’s what  I said.”

Victims of sexual abuse at the hands of priests within the Archdiocese of Chicago responded on Tuesday to the release of thousands of documents that show problematic priests were moved to different parishes, and church officials didn’t tell police about the accusations.

Several victims and sexual abuse attorneys Jeff Anderson and Marc Pearlman talked about the documents at a news conference at the Allerton Hotel.

SEE THE ARCHDIOCESE OF CHICAGO DOCUMENTS HERE

They said the release was in the works for nine years, but more still needs to be done.

They said the Archdiocese performed systematic abuses and cover-ups.

“Time and time again, each of the cardinals and top officials made conscience choices to keep that knowledge secret within the circle of the cardinal or bishops or the officials and only there. And as a result of that, hundreds and hundreds of children and families were in peril by those conscience choices,” said Anderson.

“When are they gonna learn? There was a massive cover up. The priest that abused me moved seven times and abused others. If they would have stopped him like they would have stopped the others at the time of the abuses, there would be significantly less victims,” said victim Joe Iacona.

WGN News Writer C. Hayes published this story

Attorneys publicly released the files Tuesday on 30 Archdiocese of Chicago priests accused of sexually abusing children.

The 6,000 pages of church documentation date back more than 40 years during a time when the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin and current Francis Cardinal George were heads of the Chicago Archdiocese.

SEE THE ARCHDIOCESE OF CHICAGO DOCUMENTS HERE

The documents show a pattern of secrecy and concern about activities that involved as many as 30 priests.

Chicago Archdiocese releases documents related to sex abuse scandalOne set of files includes a deposition of Cardinal George who responded this way to a question from the plaintiffs’ attorney, Jeff Anderson:
Q: “And you know enough about this topic now to know that once a cleric or an adult offends a child once that they’re at risk for re-offending?”
A:  “That’s true.”
Q: “You’ve come to know that?”
A: “Yes, I have, sir.”

The Cardinal was asked if the attorney for the Archdiocese ever told him who the offending priests were.  He was asked…
Q: “At that time, did he tell you what clerics who had been accused of abusing and found to have been credibly accused of abusing a minor were still in ministry?”
A:  “He did.”
Q:  “How many were there?”
A:  “There were, I believe, eight.”

The Cardinal was asked when he became aware of possible abuses.  He answers, “When I came to Chicago, the Chicago system was regarded with great respect and the rules permitted someone, with proper precautions in place to protect children, to continue that situation.  I was told it was working well and I had not had time to change it before 2002.”

The Cardinal was asked about the more damaging cases he was aware of.  He said, “The one egregious time when the protections of children failed to our great shame was the McCormack case where I had thought he was being supervised and it wasn’t adequate.”   Former priest Daniel McCormack was convicted of sexually abusing children and some of his cases are still pending in court.

At one point the cross-examination of the Cardinal became very intense when he was questioned by the attorney about priest after priest who re-offended while under the Church’s monitoring program.

Since Cardinal George been head of the Chicago archdiocese, 33 priests have been removed.

Church officials say they are concerned for those who suffered, and regret the mistakes made by the Archdiocese.

Tune into WGN-TV and http://wgntv.com for continuous coverage

An abuse victim speaks out asking Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George to take action and be more transparent. (WGN)

Advertisement