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Chicago Archdiocese to settle priest abuse suits for $4.45M

CHICAGO (AP) — The Archdiocese of Chicago will pay $4.45 million to settle separate lawsuits brought by three men who allege they were sexually abused over a decade ago by a former Roman Catholic priest and convicted sex offender.

Mark Brown, the attorney for the men, told the Chicago Tribune (http://trib.in/2q7NYd3 ) that two brothers reached settlements in late January. They accused Daniel McCormack of sexually abusing them more than once during an after-school program at Our Lady of the Westside Catholic School in the mid-2000s.

The other man, who was a basketball player on a team McCormack coached for the school, reached his settlement April 20.

An archdiocese spokeswoman confirms the settlement has been reached. She says she can’t discuss the case “out of respect for the privacy of those involved.”

Allegations against McCormack became public in 2006, four years after Cardinal Francis George, who is now deceased, urged Catholic bishops to remove any priest from ministry for a single act of sexual abuse.

The cardinal didn’t remove him from ministry at St. Agatha Catholic Church when McCormack had been taken into custody by Chicago police in August 2005 for allegedly abusing a boy. McCormack served as a pastor there until 2006.

McCormack was permanently removed from the priesthood after pleading guilty in 2007 to fondling five boys ages 8 to 12. The Illinois attorney general and the Cook County state’s attorney petitioned the court to have him committed under the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act when he came up for parole in 2010.

McCormack remains in a state mental health facility as those proceedings continue.

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Information from: Chicago Tribune, http://www.chicagotribune.com

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