Abels & Annes

Chicago injury lawyers file sexual abuse lawsuit against Archdiocese of Chicago

The Chicago injury lawyers at Abels & Annes, working as co-counsel with the law firm of Hilfman & Martin, have filed a church sex abuse lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Chicago, the Catholic Bishop of Chicago and Cardinal Francis George.

The lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of James C. Doe to protect the identity of the victim, accuses Catholic officials of failing to relieve Father Daniel McCormack of his official duties despite having information that McCormack had a history of abuse complaints dating back to his time in the seminary. The abuse in this case is alleged to have occurred while the boy was a middle-school student from 1999 to 2002 and continued through 2006 while the boy was in high school.

McCormack pleaded guilty in 2007 to charges that he abused five boys. He was sentenced to five years in prison and had been scheduled for release but officials have filed a lawsuit to keep him confined as a sexually violent person, ABC7 reported.

The lawsuit also accuses the Archdiocese, the Cardinal and the Catholic Bishop of failing to report McCormack’s behavior to the police or to warn the public. And of destroying notes and records of McCormack’s abuse of minors and fellow seminarians.

Instead, officials allowed him to be ordained as a priest and promoted through the system until he was named pastor of St. Agatha’s Parish in 2000. The parish included a daycare program and a school campus that is part of Our Lady of the West Side. While at the parish, he was also a teacher and boy’s basketball coach.

During his time at the church, McCormack sexually abused boys; church leaders failed to properly investigate complaints about the priest’s behavior and did not inform authorities or parents of the allegations, according to the lawsuit. Church leaders also failed to notify school administrators and permitted McCormack to continue working with young boys.

Despite being arrested in 2005, Church leaders did not remove him from his position as pastor at St. Agatha’s. A review board recommended to the Cardinal that McCormack be removed in mid October 2005, which the Cardinal rejected. He was finally removed in January 2006 when he was arrested a second time.

The lawsuit accuses the Archdiocese of Chicago, the Catholic Bishop of Chicago and Cardinal Francis George of 28 instances of breach of duty and failure to provide reasonable care.