sexual assault

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.

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.

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.

Boy Scout Victim Files Sexual Abuse Claim After Reviewing Secret Files

An Illinois man recently filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County against his former Boy Scout troopmaster and the Boy Scouts of America alleging that he was sexually abused by Thomas Hacker in 1985 when he was 10 years old.  The plaintiff went online and reviewed the once secret "perversion files" after the Boy Scouts of America were ordered to release the files in an unrelated case from Oregon.  The plaintiff claimed that he "compartmentalized" the memories of abuse, making him unable to file suit until now.  Without such an allegation, a court would likely find that the plaintiff's claim was untimely due to the statute of limitations.  The plaintiff is now married with a family.  The former scoutmaster, Hacker, is serving a 100 year prison sentence for sexual molestation.  The former troopmaster told a psychiatrist that he had sexually abused more than 100 boys.  A state agency concluded that he had sexually molested 34 victims in Illinois.  While it is expected that this litigation may take time to resolve, other claims involving Hacker settled for substantial sums of money.

Archdiocese of Chicago Settles Priest Sexual Abuse Lawsuit for $3.2 Million

The Archdicose of Chicago agreed to settle a priest sexual abuse claim with another victim of convicted sex offender Daniel McCormack for $3.2 million, resolving the last case which put the defrocked priest behind bars.  in 2007, the former priest pled guilty to sexual abuse, and was sentenced to five years in prison.  He was removed from ministry that year.  The settlement was just made public, though the case resolved last August.  Some victims of McCormack's abuse played on the basketball team, while others were friends of the boys who attended the school where McCormack coached.  Since the criminal proceedings were initiated, other alleged victims of McCormack's abuse have come forward.  The Law Offices of Eugene K. Hollander has been involved with claims of sexual abuse involving Father Joseph Fitzharris, Father Peter Bowman, Father Thomas Job, Father George Clements, and Father Paul Smith.

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