Chicago Archdiocese to pay $3.2 million to settle sex abuse case, attorney says

Protesters call for Cardinal Francis George to resign in 2006 after he failed to remove a priest charged with abusing minors.

Story highlights

  • The lawsuit says church leaders didn't remove a priest they knew had sexually abused minors
  • The Archdiocese of Chicago says it continues to work for the healing of the victims
  • The Catholic Church has heard accusations of child abuse from across the U.S. and Europe
The Archdiocese of Chicago will pay $3.2 million to settle a lawsuit that alleged church leaders failed to remove a priest they knew had sexually abused minors, the plaintiff's attorneys said Tuesday.
The priest in question, the former Rev. Daniel McCormack, was arrested in 2006 and charged with multiple counts of criminal assault; he pleaded guilty in 2007, according to the attorneys.
"On behalf of the victim, who was between the ages of 10-12 years old when he was abused, we are pleased to have reached this settlement because it marks one more step toward bringing justice to him and his family," William Martin, the plaintiff's lawyer, said in a written statement announcing the settlement.
The identity of the victim was not released.
The lawsuit, filed in 2007, sued the Archdiocese of Chicago and Cardinal Francis George, accusing them of failing to stop McCormack from having access to children. Two other civil cases against the archdiocese and George are pending, the attorneys said.
The Archdiocese of Chicago declined to comment Tuesday on the specifics of the case, citing privacy concerns.
However, it said that with this settlement, all five claims to which McCormack pleaded 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," it said in a statement.
The Catholic Church in recent years has been hit by many accusations of child abuse from across the United States and Europe, and stretching back decades.
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles said in 2007 that it would pay $660 million to more than 500 victims. Similarly, more than 500 people who filed suit claiming to have been sexually abused by Roman Catholic clergy reached an $85 million settlement with the Archdiocese of Boston in 2003. The archdioceses of Miami, Philadelphia and Portland, Oregon, have also struggled with abuse allegations.