Abuse Continued After Archdiocese Refused to Follow Its Own Review Board’s Recommendation to Remove McCormack From Ministry in October 2005
(Chicago) A lawsuit filed by a Chicago teen who was sexually abused as a child by Daniel McCormack at St. Agatha parish beginning in 2004 and continuing until January 2006 when McCormack was arrested, claims that the Archdiocese of Chicago knew as early as 1992 and no later than 2000 that McCormack was sexually deviant and had previously sexually abused numerous other children.
Nonetheless, the Archdiocese allowed the priest to remain active and have access to minor children even after a police investigation and its own review board’s recommendation to remove him from ministry.
According to the complaint filed today in Cook County Circuit Court, the victim, identified in the complaint as John Doe I84, was 11 or 12 years old in 2004, when Father Daniel McCormack, began sexually abusing him in the St. Agatha rectory and school buildings.
Attorney Jeff Anderson, who in the last ten years has brought over 100 clergy abuse claims against the Chicago Archdiocese and religious orders said, “Compounding this tragedy is that the Archdiocese of Chicago had repeated notices of Father McCormack’s sexual misconduct going back to 1992 and failed to act to prevent further abuse of children.”
Indeed, as early as 1992, Archdiocese seminarian officials received notice of McCormack’s sexual misconduct. Further, the complaint states that from 1999 to 2005, officials of the Office of Catholic Schools, an Archdiocesan organization, received numerous allegations of suspicious activities involving McCormack with children. These allegations caused the teachers to undertake their own “informal monitoring” of their minor students when McCormack was in the school.
In 2002, the Archdiocese made great fanfare of its “zero tolerance” policy mandating that priests involved in childhood sexual abuse be removed from ministry. In fact, the Archdiocese represented to the public that a priest with even one act of sexual misconduct with a child would not be allowed in public ministry in order to protect children.
However, in September of 2003, the Archdiocese received yet another report of possible misconduct by Father McCormack, but failed to act. In 2004, the Archdiocese publically represented that there were no priests accused of childhood sexual abuse in public ministry in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Of course this was not true with respect to McCormack and in that same year McCormack began to sexually abuse John Doe I84.
Chicago-based attorney Marc Pearlman, co-counsel with Anderson on this and other clergy abuse cases in the Chicago area said, “The Archdiocese had so many opportunities to stop McCormack’s abuse, but didn’t. Even in 2005 when Chicago police questioned McCormack about his abuse of children, and the Archdiocese learned the allegations were credible, they didn’t volunteer information about the reports of previous incidents they had received. And they wonder why people are angry.”
And finally, in 2005, after the Archdiocese’s Professional Review Board recommended in October that McCormack be removed from the ministry, officials didn’t get around to removing him until he was arrested in January, 2006. The abuse of John Doe 184 continued after McCormack was questioned by police and after the review board recommended his removal.
Anderson, who has been representing survivors of clergy abuse for over 25 years, said, “This case tragically demonstrates how recent the cover-up is, and has continued, by top Church officials in America.”