The Archdiocese of Chicago has paid $1.25 million to settle a lawsuit by a man who alleged that, as a child, he was sexually abused by Daniel McCormack, a former priest and convicted sex offender. The plaintiff was represented by Chicago trial lawyer Eugene Hollander, who discusses the lawsuit in this report.
The victim says that he was repeatedly sexually assaulted by McCormack when he was a fourth and fifth grader. The victim had repressed the memories. What brought them back, Hollander says, was the Jerry Sandusky scandal that broke in 2011. That stirred the victim’s memory, causing him to remember the incidents in his past, and he decided to come forward. Most of McCormack’s victims were at St. Agatha’s School. What makes this case unique, Hollander says, is that the incidents occurred at St. Ailbe Catholic Church, McCormack’s first pastoral assignment.
The sexual abuse has been devastating for the victim. He suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, and the abuse “has affected every facet of his life.” Hollander relates the victim took opioid drugs to help numb the pain. He had difficulty trusting in God, and he had difficulty trusting authority figures. He had difficulty at his jobs. “There was not part of his life that was left untouched.”
Hollander explains that McCormack’s approach to the boys he abused was to engage in grooming behaviors. He would befriend the boys on the playground, offering them candy and beverages. He would promise to take them to baseball games. “He was a rising star in the Archdiocese of Chicago.” When McCormack took special notice of a boy, the boy would “fall under his spell.” McCormack would use a ploy like asking the boy to try on basketball shorts, to see if the boy would comply. The sexual abuse would progress from that point.
Eugene K. Hollander is a principal in the Law Offices of Eugene K. Hollander, Chicago, Illinois. He has served as a prosecutor with the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, where he successfully prosecuted numerous individuals on the trial and appellate levels. Before opening his own office, Mr. Hollander associated himself with several aggressive litigation firms where he represented a Fortune 500 corporation in the defense of its labor claims, and successfully defended a class action contract claim at trial. He was recently selected as an Illinois Super Lawyer based on a statewide survey of practicing attorneys. The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group.