McCormack Sexual Abuse Victim Settles with Archdiocese of Chicago
CHICAGO—A man in his late 20’s, a victim of alleged childhood sexual abuse by Father Daniel McCormack, settled his claim with the Archdiocese of Chicago late Monday for $2,950,000. The settlement took place just prior to the trial which was scheduled for Monday, October 1. The victim claimed that he was sexually assaulted twice during elementary school by Father McCormack while he was a student at St. Agatha’s Catholic Church.
The man claims to have repressed the memories of abuse during his childhood until he began remembering them a number of years ago. The victim filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County in 2013. The man claims that the abuse completely affected his life. According to the man’s attorney, Eugene K. Hollander, “Father Dan McCormack’s predatory behavior never left his mind.” Hollander said that for the man, “growing up in the shadow of St. Agatha’s was a complete horror.” Hollander said that “while it has been a long and difficult time, my client wanted to send a message to other victims of sexual abuse – that you should not suffer in silence.” Hollander said that his client is hopeful that with the settlement proceeds he can begin a new life.
Hollander said that this sexual abuse claim involving McCormack was unique. In this case, after a special hearing in February, 2016, the court permitted Hollander to seek punitive damages against the Archdiocese at trial for its alleged reckless behavior. Hollander contended that the Archdiocese acted willfully by ordaining McCormack after incidents of alleged sexual abuse arose during the former’s priest’s schooling at the seminary and even after he was ordained in 1994. McCormack was initially assigned to St. Ailbe’s parish as an associate pastor from 1994-1997 and later served at St. Agatha’s parish as pastor. In 2007, McCormack pled guilty to five charges of criminal sexual abuse, but not involving Hollander’s client. In July, 2018, Judge Daniel Porter ordered that McCormack remain indefinitely committed to a state mental health facility in Rushville, Illinois.
Hollander successfully lobbied the court to bring McCormack in live for the jury trial. Hollander said, “In court papers, Daniel McCormack made it very clear that he was going to refuse to testify about the molestation by invoking the Fifth Amendment – his silence was going to speak volumes.”