New round of lawsuits filed against ex-Chicago priest convicted of sex abuse

The Rev. Daniel McCormack arrives at the Cook County Criminal Courts Building on July 2, 2007. The Archdiocese of Chicago recently reached an agreement to pay $4.45 million to settle three lawsuits brought by three men who allege they were sexually abused more than a decade ago by McCormack.

By Steve Schmadeke

Three new lawsuits were filed Wednesday against a notorious former priest convicted a decade ago of molesting five boys.

The new allegations against the Rev. Daniel McCormack, who will likely be sent indefinitely to a state facility for sex offenders after a Cook County judge found him last week to be a sexually violent person, mirror those that have already led the Archdiocese of Chicago to pay out millions to victims.

Court records show some 25 boys and young men have alleged McCormack molested them in their youth, most notably at St. Agatha Parish on Chicago’s West Side, where the young priest coached basketball, taught algebra and delivered eloquent sermons. The allegations date to the early 1990s against McCormack, who became a well-known figure in Chicago’s part in the nationwide clergy sex abuse scandal.

At least 14 lawsuits have previously been filed by McCormack’s alleged victims; eight of those are still pending, records show. The archdiocese is selling off unused real estate because its insurance no longer covers such legal costs.

The new lawsuits were filed in Cook County Circuit Court on Wednesday by attorney Eugene Hollander, who said the timing was unrelated to last week’s sexually violent person ruling against McCormack.

“There are still victims out there,” Hollander said. “It’s very difficult to come forward, and everyone has their own time to do so.”

One alleged victim, 32, says in his lawsuit that he was sexually assaulted by McCormack while attending school at St. Ailbe Parish on the South Side from 1991-1996. Another, also 32 now, says he was fondled by McCormack while he played on the basketball team at St. Agatha Parish from 2000-2002. A third said he was sexually assaulted once by McCormack while attending preschool and elementary school at St. Ailbe Parish in the Calumet Heights neighborhood.

The three say they repressed the memories of the abuse until this summer.

McCormack had pleaded guilty in 2007 to sexually abusing five boys and was sentenced to five years in prison. He was later removed from the priesthood

The allegations ranged from inappropriate kissing and touching to sexual assault. According to the court records, one boy said McCormack abused him on the way back from basketball practice, another in the basement of the rectory and still another during the fourth inning of a White Sox game.

As of early 2016, the Chicago Archdiocese said it has paid out a total of $139 million in clerical sexual abuse claims, but it has declined to release the total for the McCormack settlements. So far this year alone, though, the church has agreed to pay more than $7.5 million to settle lawsuits brought by men alleging abuse by McCormack, according to attorneys for those men.

The Archdiocese does not comment on pending legal matters, a spokeswoman said in an email.

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