In the past few years, many victims of sexual abuse have come forward with their stories and accused former Catholic priest Daniel McCormack of sexual molestation, misconduct, or other sexual crimes against them when they were young and under the supervision of McCormack. Up until now, all of these victims have chosen to remain anonymous to protect their true identity from being publicly released.
That changed yesterday when a 27-year-old Chicago man came forward and identified himself by his legal name. The man has claimed that McCormack began sexually abusing him in 1994 at Saint Ailbe parish, located on Chicago's south side. At the time, the victim was a fourth grade student at the parish school and that the abuse continued through 1996. During that time, the victim was associated with the school basketball and football teams as well as baptism classes, all of which were coached or taught by McCormack.
The victim stated publicly that he chose to come forward publicly instead of doing so anonymously to help address a culture of secrecy that occurs with childhood sexual abuse and what the victim, who is African-American, calls a "don't tell" policy in the African-American community.
After multiple allegations against McCormack were made and a review of his position concluded, he was eventually removed from his post with the Archdiocese of Chicago and criminally charged with sexual abuse of several minors. McCormack pleaded guilty to the charges and is currently confined in a mental health facility.
Being a victim of sexual abuse often leads to physical and psychological injuries. In many individuals, these injuries last a lifetime and can lead to high rates of depression, substance abuse, suicide, and in the case of children who are sexually abused, mistrust of authority figures. Often these damages are compounded by the fact that treatment may not be sought and the victims may never properly deal with the sexual abuse.
The law firm of Abels & Annes, P.C. does not represent the victim who came forward yesterday with his claim of abuse but does represent several other alleged victims of former priest Daniel McCormack. In 2011, Abels & Annes, P.C., working with co-counsel, settled a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Chicago, Cardinal George, and the Catholic Bishop of Chicago involving sexual abuse of a minor by former Rev. Daniel McCormack in the amount of $3.2 million dollars, $300,000 of which was placed in escrow for services. The identify of the plaintiff and his family in that settlement remain confidential.