Abuse victim gets $1.2 mil

Boy molested by priest at White Sox game, his brother got $2.5 million

Chicago Sun-Times/December 18, 2008

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago has agreed to pay $1.2 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the family of a boy who was sexually abused by former priest Daniel McCormack, an attorney for the family said Wednesday.

Kenneth Cunniff said the settlement calls for $1.1 million to be paid to the boy, who is 16, and $100,000 to the boy's mother. In September, the archdiocese agreed to pay $2.5 million to the boy's younger brother, who also was abused by McCormack.

McCormack, 40, pleaded guilty last year to molesting five boys while pastor at Our Lady of the Westside School. He was sentenced to five years and is in prison in Downstate Jacksonville.

The $1.2 million settlement, approved Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court, involves allegations that the boy was sexually abused by McCormack at the school in 2004 and at a White Sox game at U.S. Cellular Field in 2005. Most of the abuse of the five victims took place at the rectory.

"In over 20 years of dealing with the archdiocese in these types of cases, the archdiocese has always provided counseling to the victim, appropriate compensation to the victim for the actions of the sexual predator, and done everything within their power to rectify the terrible effects of the sexual abuse," Cunniff said.

The settlement was reached after two retired Cook County Circuit Court judges, Julia Nowicki and Michael Hogan, reviewed the case, heard from Cunniff and James Serritella, attorney for the archdiocese, and approved the final amount.

In a written statement, the archdiocese said it "continues to encourage the use of alternatives to litigation such as mediation to resolve claims of sexual misconduct in a just, fair and compassionate manner."

A report filed earlier this year by counselors for the two brothers said both suffer from "extreme sadness ... confusion, anger, shock, rage, mistrust of men."

Five lawsuits have been filed alleging sexual abuse by McCormack, and only one remains pending. That case, alleging a boy was abused from fourth through seventh grade, is awaiting Cardinal Francis George's deposition, according to the family's attorney, William F. Martin.

So far, the archdiocese has agreed to pay nearly $10 million to settle claims arising from McCormack's conduct.

Beyond the five boys McCormack admitted abusing, state child welfare officials found credible evidence of abuse of six other youths.

Overall, the archdiocese has paid out about $82 million to settle claims involving clergy sex abuse cases.

Maurice Possley is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who recently left the Chicago Tribune. He worked for the Chicago Sun-Times from 1978 to 1984.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.