Archdiocese of Chicago to pay sex abuse victim $3.2M

File Photo: Daniel McCormack

November 15, 2011 3:14:52 PM PST
The Archdiocese of Chicago will pay $3.2 million to a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of convicted former priest Daniel McCormack.

The name of the plaintiff, a boy who was abused between the ages of 10 and 12 by McCormack, has not been released. Attorneys spoke on his behalf through a statement released Tuesday, "We are pleased to have reached this settlement because it marks one more step toward bringing justice to him and his family," said William Martin, a partner at Hilfman & Martin, a Chicago-based law firm that has represented other victims in child sex abuse cases involving the Archdiocese of Chicago and other entities.

The victim sued the Archdiocese of Chicago and Cardinal Francis George in 2007 for allegedly failing to remove McCormack from having contact with children even though they had knowledge of the alleged abuse. McCormack was arrested in January 2006 on several counts of criminal sexual assault. He pleaded guilty in 2007 to those charges, which included the plaintiff in this settlement. McCormack was sentenced to five years. He was paroled last year after serving about two and a half years and remains in a state mental health facility.

At least two other civil cases are pending against the Archdiocese of Chicago and Cardinal George in connection with McCormack.

In the meantime, the victim graduated high school last year and is hoping to attend college. His attorneys say this settlement will help pay for the treatment he needs.

"He's a poor kid who comes from a single family household who has with inadequate resources in just about everything. And McCormack was essentially the answer to all of that," said William Martin, attorney.

Attorneys for the victim, who is now 18 years old, say their client is typical of the sexual abuse victims of Daniel McCormack. They alleged McCormack abused the boy numerous times while he was in the 5th through 7th grades. The former priest pleaded guilty to charges that he abused five children while he was a teacher, coach and priest at St. Agatha Catholic Church and School in Chicago.

The archdiocese declined to offer a comment on the specific details of the case but said, "with this settlement all five of the claims to which McCormack pled guilty have been resolved. 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."

The attorneys say their client has been undergoing therapy for years.

"Sometimes in these cases you can't tell the damage until later on in life," said Dave Abels, victim's attorney.

"Initially he held himself responsible, and that's the problem with these cases. The terrible guilt and shame that they feel, they blame themselves. And it takes a tremendous amount of counseling and hard work to realize that they are the victim," said Martin.

This is the last of the five claims for which McCormack was criminally charged with, although attorneys claim there were numerous other victims who have filed civil cases against the archdiocese.

The two sides actually reached the settlement in this case back in August but were prohibited by the judge from talking about it for 90 days.

ARCHDIOCESE RESPONSE:
The Archdiocese of Chicago does not comment on specific details of settlements in clergy misconduct cases out of respect for the privacy of all involved. Victims-survivors are free to speak about their situations and the Archdiocese respects their right to make public the details of their settlements, if they choose to do so.

With this settlement, all five of the claims to which McCormack pled guilty have been resolved.

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.

The two sides actually reached the settlement in this case back in August but were prohibited by the judge from talking about it for 90 days.


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