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Chicago archdiocese to pay $1.5 million in sexual abuse suit

December 3, 2020 GMT

CHICAGO (AP) — The Archdiocese of Chicago has agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle a lawsuit filed by a man who says he was sexually abused as a child by a defrocked priest who was convicted of sexually abusing several boys, the man’s attorney said Thursday.

The settlement agreement announced in a news release by attorney Lyndsay Markley is the latest dark chapter in the story of Daniel McCormack, one of the most notorious pedophiles in the history of the archdiocese.

It is just the latest archdiocese settlement with men who alleged they were abused as children by McCormack, pushing the total payments in such suits past $11 million. After the Chicago Tribune reported that the church agreed to pay more than $7.5 million in 2017 alone, it agreed to pay another $2.9 million the next year.

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The archdiocese declined to discuss the latest settlement.

The allegations against McCormack date back decades and involve more than two dozen boys, according to news reports. In 2007, he was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to sexually abusing five boys. In 2009, just before he was eligible for parole, he was designated by the state as a sexually violent person so that he could be held after his release date at a secure state facility. Then, in 2018, a judge at the urging of prosecutors found McCormack to be sexually violent and ordered that he stay in custody indefinitely in a state facility for sex offenders. It wasn’t immediately clear Thursday if he remains in custody.

The latest victim’s account is strikingly similar to others’ accounts of being abused by McCormack. According to Markley’s news release, the latest plaintiff, whose name was not released, attended a Catholic elementary school on the Chicago’s West Side in the early 2000s. McCormack was a teacher and a basketball coach at the school, and the boy was on the team McCormack coached.

The archdiocese and then-Cardinal Francis George were also criticized after it was reported that George waited until a second arrest on child abuse charges to remove McCormack from ministry in 2006. McCormack was permanently removed from ministry the following year.