Thursday, February 20, 2014
CHICAGO ILLINOIS – Three unidentified young men who say they were abused by Daniel McCormack, a defrocked Catholic priest who in 2007 pleaded guilty to several counts of criminal sexual assault, each filed separate lawsuits Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court.
The suits named the Catholic bishop of Chicago, the Archdiocese of Chicago and Cardinal Francis George. It claims that they were negligent in allowing McCormack, who as of last month was confined in a mental health facility after his guilty plea, to work with young boys unsupervised when they knew or should have known that he had a history of sexually abusing minors.
“The case is against the church for allowing him to be in the presence of young children when they knew he had had a propensity to try to take liberties with young boys,” said their lawyer, Richard Levin.
All three plaintiffs were members of the basketball team at Our Lady of the Westside School and were abused by McCormack at different times spanning 2000 to 2005, Levin said. A $3.15 million settlement was announced in January involving a sex-abuse victim who said McCormack abused him in 2002 at the same school.
“They unfortunately all had similar types of experiences,” Levin said of the three new plaintiffs. “They were all within two or three years of each other.”
A spokesperson for the archdiocese said that they could not comment because archdiocese officials have not seen the lawsuits.
McCormack was sentenced to five years in prison after his 2007 guilty plea. A petition to keep him committed to state custody indefinitely as a sexually violent person is being considered by a Cook County judge.
In January, thousands of pages of internal Archdiocese documents were released as part of a settlement. The documents show how leaders of the local church for the past half-century failed to protect children from abusive priests.
Prior to the files’ release, George admitted mishandling McCormack’s case, and his files remain sealed.