sexual abuse

Punitive Damages Granted Against Archdiocese of Chicago

On February 9, 2016, Cook County Judge Clare McWilliams, ruled against the Archdiocese of Chicago on behalf of ‘John Doe’ whom the defrocked priest, Daniel J. McCormack, allegedly abused as a young boy at St. Agatha’s Parish in Chicago’s Lawndale neighborhood. The ruling on Tuesday means, many, if not all of the victims allegedly abused by McCormack can seek punitive damages if their lawsuits make it to trial. This could cost the Archdiocese millions of additional dollars, on top of the millions they have already paid out to sex abuse victims in this particular case.  Attorney Eugene K. Hollander of The Law Offices of Eugene K. Hollander represented the victim, now in his early 20s, who alleged that McCormack sexually abused him while he was enrolled in third grade for a short period of time at St. Agatha's Parish. ‘John Doe’ alleges he was sexually abused twice while attending St. Agatha’s and that Father McCormack was a person he trusted, because he knew his mother. After complaining to his mother, he switched schools to finish out third grade. The pain and suffering ‘John Doe’ has endured since these encounters has caused severe problems in his life, including mental disturbances, sexual confusion and substance abuse. Evidence indicates that the Archdiocese of Chicago received warnings about McCormack's disturbing sexual behavior while he was in seminary, yet still chose to ordain him as a priest. Because of the negligent, willful and wanton acts of the Archdiocese of Chicago, ‘John Doe’ is joined by a number of other victims of horrific sexual abuse performed by Daniel J. McCormack. Attorney Eugene Hollander, says: My client is very pleased with the Court's ruling.  He looks forward to his upcoming trial, and having all of the evidence which supported the Motion for Punitive Damages placed before the jury. Eugene Hollander has represented five other victims who allege sexual abuse by McCormack. All of these claims have been settled with the Archdiocese of Chicago, including one for $1.25 million in May of 2015. There are currently around 20 pending lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Chicago related to allegations of sexual abuse by its priests currently proceeding through litigation in Cook County.

Spotlight Movie Covers Priest Sexual Abuse Crisis in Boston

The new Open Road movie, "Spotlight," tracks the Boston Globe's coverage of the priest sexual abuse scandal in Boston.  Spotlight was the name of the investigative team of the newspaper which led the charge into breaking the story.  While it was long suspected that a handful of priests were involved in sexually abusing boys from broken homes, the reporters discovered that about 90 priests had molested hundreds of victims.  Using old church directories as one of their tools, the newspaper found that the archdiocese had shuttled many priests around from parish to parish, using various terms of sick leave to describe their absence from a particular church.  While many priests who were not accused of molesting children served seven years or more at a particular parish, those who were named as abusers, served a far shorter stint, usually two to three years.  Ultimately, the trail led up to Cardinal Law, who knew that a number of priests were involved in molesting children, but did not remove them from ministry.  Cardinal Law ultimately resigned from the Archdiocese of Boston. The Law Offices of Eugene K. Hollander currently represents an alleged victim of Daniel McCormack, a laicized priest from the Archdiocese of Chicago.  McCormack has been accused of sexually assaulting many young boys from the west side of Chicago.  There are currently about 15 pending cases against the Archdiocese of Chicago involving McCormack claims.  McCormack pled guilty to sexually abusing five children. Hollander currently has a pending motion seeking punitive damages against the Archdiocese of Chicago for their failure to remove McCormack from ministry, based upon what knowledge they had at the time.  A ruling is expected in December, 2015.

Rape Claim Yields 1,283 Allegations of Sexual Assault Against Match.Com

In a personal injury lawsuit pending in the Circuit Court of Cook County, a woman claims that she was raped by a man she met through the popular website , Match.com.  In the discovery phase of the case, the woman sought information concerning other sexual assaults reported to the website.  The plaintiff's attorney sought ten years of records.  Match, however, produced two years of records, or 1,283 allegations of sexual assault.  The website claims that prior to that two year period, it did not separately track the incidents.  The discovery request arises out of a claim that in 2009, the woman was sexually assaulted by Ryan Logan, who met her through the website.  The lawsuit was filed in 2011.  The issue has not yet been fully resolved by the Court.

Pope Francis Visit May Stir Suppressed Memories of Sexual Abuse

Pope Francis' recent visit to the United States was historic and memorable.  He touched many hearts and connected with many spiritually.  His visit, however, may also have roused long suppressed memories and feelings.  Victims of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of a clergy member, like a Catholic priest, may discover memories which they buried long ago regarding molestation.  Indeed it is a common psychological mechanism for those who have been sexually molested to either repress the memory or to suppress it.  In the former case, the victim completely blocks the memory out of his mind and is no longer conscious of it.  In the latter situation, the sexual abuse victim is still cognizant of what happened, but purposefully "places it away" so that he will not have to deal with it.  The recent visit of Pope Francis is similar to what happened when the Jerry Sandusky scandal broke, causing many sexual abuse victims to come forward.  Those victims who do recall such unfortunate events should contact a lawyer immediately as certain statutes of limitations may limit their ability to recover compensation for their psychological injuries.

Cardinal George Provides Trial Testimony in Sexual Abuse Litigation

Last Thursday, Archbishop Cardinal George provided videotaped trial testimony in the sexual abuse cases involving former priest Daniel McCormack.  Though the Cardinal had been deposed three times before, those depositions were for discovery purposes, which are generally not admissible at trial.  This time, because of the Cardinal's health, his trial testimony was taken in advance.  Should one or more of the nineteen pending cases proceed to trial, the videotape can be shown to the jury at that time.  Mr. Hollander's first case is scheduled for trial in May, 2015.  Because of a protective order entered by the Court, the Law Offices of Eugene K. Hollander cannot comment on the substance of the Cardinal's testimony at this time.  We can report, however, that the Cardinal was questioned for about 6 hours, by two of the Plaintiffs' attorneys, including Eugene K. Hollander.  Deposition testimony resumes today, June 3.

New McCormack Victim Goes Public

Numerous sexual abuse claims have been filed against the Archdiocese of Chicago by victims of convicted sex offender Daniel McCormack, however, there was a new development yesterday.  A 27 year old man, Darryl McArthur, filed suit in the Circuit Court of Cook County, alleging that he was molested by the former priest when he was at St. Ailbe Parish, starting in 1994.  Many lawsuits against the Archdiocese have been filed in the Circuit Court for similar allegations, but all of the victims have elected to file under a pseudonym, John Doe.  This is not uncommon in molestation cases.  To date, none of the abuse cases involving McCormack have proceeded to trial.  They have all been settled.  The first one which is scheduled for trial is set for April, 2014.  The Law Offices of Eugene K. Hollander currently has lawsuits pending in the Circuit Court for six different victims.  These victims were either abused while at St. Agatha's Parish or at St. Ailbe's.  A number of the victims were involved in an aftercare program, known as SAFE.  Most of those victims have attempted to settle their claims through a mediation process known as the Advisory Panel, but they have not yet been resolved.  McCormack pled guilty in 2007 to sexually abusing five victims.

Hollander Law Offices Files New Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Against Chicago Archdiocese and Cardinal George

On Wednesday of this week, The Law Offices of Eugene K. Hollander, filed a new sexual abuse lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Chicago and Cardinal George.  The filing of the case was reported by Channel 2 CBS News.  Hollander's client, known as John Doe in the case to protect his privacy, claims that on two occasions while he attended St. Agatha's parish, that Father Daniel McCormack fondled him on two occasions.  Hollander currently represents five other victims who similarly claim that the priest, since laicized, sexually molested them.  Those other cases are pending in the Circuit Court of Cook County.  McCormack is currently incarcerated after he pled guilty in 2007 to sexually assaulting 5 boys.

Christian Brothers Settle Sexual Abuse Claims

The Christian Brothers of Ireland agreed to settle about 400 claims involving sexual abuse for $16.5 million.  As a result of the claims, the Christian Brothers filed for bankruptcy protection in April, 2011.  The victims filed claims in the bankruptcy court.  The claimants included 32 men who went to Brother Rice High School, Leo High School, and St. Laurence High School in Burbank.  The claimants alleged that the sexual abuse took place from the 1960s through the 1980s.  The bankruptcy settlement does not preclude the victims from filing suit in state court.  Three lawsuits were recently filed in state court on behalf of 32 plaintiffs.

Joliet Diocese Settles Sex Abuse Claim and Agrees to Release Secret Files

In a landmark development, the Joliet Diocese agreed not only to settle a sexual abuse case involving one of its priests, but also to release 7,000 pages of internal church documents which detail sexual abuse allegations involving 15 priests.  The victim, whose case prompted release of the files, filed suit against the diocese in 2007.  He claimed that he was sexually assaulted by Reverend James Burnett when he was 8 years old.  The victim claimed that the assault happened during his first confession.  The priest was removed from ministry in 2006.  He served in churches in Joliet, Naperville, and Bensonville.  The website for the Diocese of Joliet lists 34 priests whom credible allegations of sexual abuse have been made.  Fourteen of those priests are dead.  The victim said he refused to settle unless the documents were released.

Los Angeles Archdiocese Settles Sexual Abuse Cases for Ten Million Dollars

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles recently settled four sexual abuse cases for a sum close to $10 million.  The victims claimed that they were sexually assaulted by priest Michael Baker.  Authorities state that Baker allegedly abused 23 boys over a three decade span.  This settlement is the first one for the LA Diocese since they agreed to release 12,000 documents concerning its handling of sexual abuse claims.  Authorities say that the priest admitted that he sexually assaulted two boys to Cardinal Roger Mahony in 1986.  Mahony initially sent Baker for treatment, but then later reassigned him to ministry, where he abused boys again.  One of the lawyers in the case said the release of the files was a pivotal point for settling the claims.  Baker was defrocked in 2000.  He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and was released in 2011.

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