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Legally Reviewed by:

Jonathan Rosenfeld
J.D

November 24, 2023

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Illinois Roman Catholic Church Clergy Abuse Attorneys

312 Members of the Clergy Have Been Accused of Widespread Sexual Abuse in Illinois

Are you or your loved one a victim of priest abuse in Illinois? Were you sexually abused by a religious leader years or decades ago but you still want to pursue justice?

Schedule a free consultation today with the clergy abuse lawyers at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC. Contact us at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or use the contact form.

An Illinois clergy abuse lawyer from our team is ready to hear your story and will fight to protect your legal rights and provide a safe place to talk about what happened. Our law firm has a comprehensive understanding of Illinois tort law and uses the legal system to help survivors seek justice through child abuse cases.

Generations of Catholics trusted their children to the Archdiocese of Chicago institutions.

Many did not know at the time that their children were being abused by Catholic Priests and clergy in Illinois whom they trusted and that they were victims of the scourge of priest abuse.

For many years, sex molestation of minors was rampant in the Archdiocese of Chicago, leading to a sordid chapter in church history.

One group that apparently knew of much of the misconduct by the accused priests was the Church itself. Over the last several decades, information about widespread child sexual molestation committed by clergy in many catholic dioceses has come out to the general public.

The Church has already paid hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements to survivors of priest abuse after religious leaders elected not to legally fight these civil lawsuits.

Contact a Clergy Sexual Abuse Attorney

If you are a sexual abuse victim by a Catholic clergy member, read further to find out how you can file a claim after you have contacted Illinois clergy abuse lawyers.

The Archdiocese of Chicago has more than just a moral obligation to make things right. You deserve justice after the diocese failed to protect you. The profound regret of the entire religious community does not begin to compensate you for what you have endured.

A clergy abuse attorney at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC will help survivors of sexual molestation file a sexual injury lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Chicago or against any Illinois dioceses, clergy member, religious order, or church throughout the state and church officials responsible for the child sexual abuse.

History of Illinois Church Victims of Sexual Abuse

As of last year, ninety-nine religious leaders faced credible allegations of victim sexual abuse levied against them. The filed claim numbers may be a low estimate given the fact that a victim of priest sexual abuse may never come forward with their stories out of fear.

Rev. Daniel McCormack was involved in one of the worst Illinois Dioceses instances of illegal sexual behavior. The reverend allegedly sexually abused several Chicago area boys repeatedly over a four-year span. Although numerous boys accused him of sexual misconduct, he was not removed from his job.

Finally, after two years, McCormack pled guilty after he was offered a plea bargain. Court records show that he was accused of molesting 25 youths. McCormack poses such a danger to the community that the state has held him at a secure facility even after his sentence ended due to the dangers that he poses to others.

Recent Illinois and Chicago Sexual Abuse Lawsuits

Accusations are still being made against religious leaders based on conduct that occurred many years ago. Fortunately, the time limit for child sexual abuse lawsuits has been extended.

Recently, the Church in Chicago was sued based on credible allegations of criminal sex assault by the late Father John Smyth. The Chicago diocese reverend is alleged to have sexually abused the altar boy when the clergy member was head of the Maryville Academy.

The plaintiff alleges that the priest began sexually molesting him [1] when he was eleven years old, starting in 2001. The childhood abuse in Illinois ended three years later.

This allegation is much worse than many abuse cases because the plaintiff reported the illegal behavior as it was occurring. However, school officials did not believe the sexually abused altar boy, who was eleven when the abuse began. Thus, the molestation continued for three years.

Dismissing the victim’s report of their sexual injury is exactly how accused clergy were able to operate with impunity for so long.

The Chicago Catholic leaders have turned a blind eye to allegations of sexual molestation. When they did believe the accuser, they engaged in a coverup to keep news of abuse of children from ever becoming public.

An $8 Million Negotiated Settlement To Resolve a Decades-Old Clergy Member Sexual Abuse Claim

In the summer of 2020, the Archdiocese of Chicago resolved a clergy sex assault claim by agreeing to an $8 million negotiated settlement. The case involved Rev. John Callicott, a clergy member who had been accused of sexually assaulting a minor in the 1990s.

The victim had requested that their name be withheld from the public. Rev. John Callicott of Holy Angels Church denied the allegations and sought his accuser’s name. The court denied his request.

Even though the abuse occurred decades ago, long past the civil statute of limitations, the clergy sexual abuse case was settled in March 2019. However, the information was not immediately released to the public. The victim received total compensation in July 2019 and was considered “the largest payout of its kind” in the Archdiocese of Chicago.

The first accusations against Rev. Callicott started in the 1970s when he faced accusations of molesting two young males. The reverend admitted to sexually abusing the victims.

Archdiocese of Chicago clergy members removed him from his ministerial duties at the parish. However, he was reinstated two years later. In 2002, the church fired him from his position and he never returned.

$210 Million in Payouts to Date

Currently, the Archdiocese of Chicago has paid out approximately $210 million to resolve clergy members’ sexual abuse lawsuits. Documents reveal that an estimated $156 million more is necessary to resolve additional child sexual abuse claims that are expected to be filed in the years ahead.

The financial burden of paying off millions to innocent victims has created a potential bankruptcy issue for the Illinois churches. In recent years, the Vatican, under the leadership of Pope Francis, has begun holding the accused priests, clergy members, and Church leaders accountable for their deplorable actions.

So far, the church has resorted to bankruptcy to better manage its clergy members’ sexual abuse settlements. Buffalo and Rochester dioceses in New York state have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Sexual Abuse Claims Against the Illinois Dioceses

In the state of Illinois, Catholic clergy members have pledged to be more vigilant and transparent after decades of grotesque violations against priest abuse victims.

However, even if the problem is being dealt with currently, the pattern of horrible offenses dates back for decades. The Church is alleged to have covered up for priest abuse going back to the 1980s and likely earlier before that both in the state and across America.

Damages in a Chicago Child Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

When you file a Catholic Church sexual misconduct lawsuit, you are entitled to be “made whole” for everything that you have suffered from the predatory priest and other clergy members.

The Church cannot give you your life back, but it can be made to pay you for the devastating effects of sexual mistreatment to which a clergy member subjected you. Abuse survivors can receive damages for the following:

  • Lost wages if you are suffering prevented you from working or reaching your earnings potential
  • Pain and suffering (this can include the emotional trauma that you have suffered and continue to suffer)
  • Loss of enjoyment of your life
  • Reputational harm
  • Loss of consortium
  • Punitive damages

Our law firm appreciates the impact that sexual abuse has on all aspects of your life. We are committed to providing effective and aggressive representation for survivors of sexual abuse to maximize the value of your clergy member’s sexual abuse case.

We regularly utilize the services of experts in the fields of psychology and economics to help maximize the damages in your clergy member’s sex abuse case. When we are retained in an Illinois child sex abuse case, we are committed to maximizing the value via settlement or trial.

Illinois Sex Abuse Statute of Limitations

Like all personal injury cases, sexual abuse cases are governed by the civil statute of limitations, a time constraint for submitting a compensation claim. Your failure to comply with the Illinois time limit will likely result in the dismissal of your clergy sexual abuse lawsuit, and you will be unable to recover any compensation.

Illinois state law allows survivors of clergy abuse twenty years from the date that they discovered that they were sexually assaulted to file a lawsuit. The claim or lawsuit can be filed against sexual clergy members and religious organizations covering up their crimes which could include rape, sodomy, oral sex, sexual exploitation, and child pornography.

The criminal time limit on clergy abuse does not begin to run until the person turns eighteen and does not include limitations on filing a criminal case. The law recognizes that this is the time when they can begin to give an accurate account.

The law (Chapter 735 of the IL Statutes in § 13-202.2) is important because many people who have been molested have buried their memories of when the abuse happened years or decades ago. Many victims might not even realize that they were a victim of priest abuse until they are adults and have had time to work through their repressed memory.

If the victim of sexual abuse does not file a clergy abuse lawsuit before time runs out, they lose the right to file a clergy abuse civil lawsuit. There might be additional legal remedies if the abuse happened past the criminal statute of limitations deadline.

Consequently, we urge you to speak with an experienced sexual abuse lawyer as soon as feasible to ensure your legal rights are not compromised.

Call an Illinois Clergy Abuse Lawyer

Contact the personal injury lawyers at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC today to learn how you can file a lawsuit. We commit to fighting hard on your behalf and treating your sexual molestation case with the sensitivity that you deserve as a plaintiff.

Our Chicago sexual abuse lawyers recognize how hard it is for you to come forward and will work with you every step of the way.

Contact our law offices at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or through the contact form for a free case evaluation. Our clergy abuse attorneys provide a protective environment to share your confidential or sensitive information. You owe us nothing unless we recover compensation on your behalf.

Our personal injury lawyers take the attorney-client relationship seriously and commit to fighting hard for our clients to ensure they receive financial compensation for the damages, pain, and suffering even if the abuse happened decades ago. The choice to come forward to discuss your horrifying experience is yours.

Begin the process of getting your life back and talk to an attorney today during a strictly confidential meeting.

Illinois Six Catholic Dioceses

In Illinois, Roman Catholics are the single largest religious group of all faiths statewide. One Archdiocese of Chicago, five Illinois dioceses (Belleville, Joliet, Peoria, Rockford, Springfield), and their Bishops manage parishes in 102 counties statewide (listed below).

Archdiocese of Chicago [2]

835 North Rush Street

Chicago, IL 60611-2030

(312) 534.8200

Archbishop Quigley Center

835 North Rush Street

Chicago, IL 60611-2030

Cardinal Meyer Center

3525 South Lake Park Avenue

Chicago, IL 60653-1402

Chicago Metropolitan Area: Cook County, DuPage County, Lake County

Archdiocese of Chicago officials

  • Cardinal Blase J. Cupich
  • Auxiliary Bishop Robert Casey
  • Auxiliary Bishop Jeffrey Grob
  • Auxiliary Bishop Mark Bartosic
  • Auxiliary Bishop Robert J. Lombardo
  • Auxiliary Bishop John R. Manz
  • Auxiliary Bishop Andrew P. Wypych
  • Auxiliary Bishop Joseph N. Perry
  • Retired Auxiliary Bishop Kevin M. Birmingham
  • Retired Auxiliary Bishop Francis J. Kane
  • Retired Auxiliary Bishop George J. Rassas
  • Retired Auxiliary Bishop Raymond E. Goedert
  • Retired Auxiliary Bishop John R.Gorman

Diocese of Belleville [3]

222 South Third Street

Belleville, IL 62220

(618) 277-8181

St. Clair County

  • Bishop Michael G. McGovern
  • Former Bishop Edward K. Braxton
  • Former Bishop Wilton Cardinal Gregory
  • Former Bishop James P. Keleher
  • Former Bishop John N. Wurm
  • Former Bishop William M. Cosgrove
  • Former Bishop Albert R. Zuroweste
  • Former Bishop Henry J. Althoff
  • Former Bishop John Janssen

Diocese of Joliet [4]

16555 Weber Road

Crest Hill, IL 60403

(815) 221-6185

Will County and Kent County

  • Bishop Ronald Hicks
  • Bishop Emeritus R. Daniel Conlon
  • Former Archbishop J. Peter Sartain
  • Former Bishop Bishop Joseph L. Imesch
  • Former Bishop Romeo R. Blanchette
  • Former Bishop Martin D. McNamara
  • Auxiliary Bishop Joseph M. Siegel
  • Auxiliary Bishop James E. Fitzgerald
  • Auxiliary Bishop Roger L. Kaffer
  • Auxiliary Bishop Raymond J. Vonesh
  • Auxiliary Bishop Daniel L. Ryan
  • Auxiliary Archbishop Daniel W. Kucera

Diocese of Peoria [5]

419 NE Madison Ave

Peoria, Il 61603

(309) 671-1550

Peoria County

  • Bishop Daniel R. Jenky
  • Bishop Louis Tylka

Diocese of Rockford [6]

555 Colman Center Drive

Rockford, IL 61108

(815) 399-4300

Winnebago County

  • Bishop David J. Malloy
  • Former Bishop David J. Malloy
  • Former Bishop Thomas George Doran
  • Former Bishop Arthur Joseph O’Neill
  • Former Bishop Loras Thomas Lane
  • Former Bishop Donald Martin Carroll
  • Former Bishop Raymond Peter Hillinger
  • Former Bishop John Joseph Boylan
  • Former Bishop Edward Francis Hoban
  • Former Bishop Peter James Muldoon

Diocese of Springfield IL

1615 W. Washington St.

Springfield, IL 62702

(217) 698-8500

Sangamon County

  • Bishop Thomas John Paprocki
  • Former Bishop George J. Lucas
  • Former Bishop Daniel L. Ryan
  • Former Bishop Joseph A. McNicholas
  • Former Bishop William A. O’Connor
  • Former Bishop James A. Griffin
  • Former Bishop James Ryan

Our personal injury attorneys currently represent people that have been harmed from sexual abuse committed by clergy throughout the United States and in Illinois in the following localities: Cook County, Kane County, McHenry County, Will County, Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Chicago, Crystal Lake, Elgin, Joliet, Hoffman Estates, Naperville, and Waukegan. File a clergy sexual assault case today.

Resources: [1] abc7chicago, [2] Archdiocese of Chicago, [3] Diocese of Belleville, [4] Diocese of Joliet, [5] Diocese of Peoria, [6] Diocese of Rockford

Client Reviews

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Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial.

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