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Suit claims ex-Schaumburg priest sexually abused teen, paid him to keep quiet

Updated: May 9, 2013 11:24PM

A man filed suit against a former Schaumburg priest and the Archdiocese of Chicago on Thursday, claiming that priest paid him to keep quiet about eight years of sexual abuse that began when he was 10.

The anonymous plaintiff, who turns 28 on Friday, filed the suit Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court. He claims the abuse began in 1995, while he and his family attended St. Matthew Parish in Schaumburg.

The plaintiff claims the priest first approached him in a bathroom during a parish festival when he was 10, allegedly pulling open the waistband of his pants to look at his genitals. Then the priest gave him a piece of candy, according to the lawsuit.

The suit says the abuse escalated when the plaintiff was in high school and did custodial work at the parish.

At least seven times between 2000 and 2003, the priest called the teen to his parish residence and gave him alcohol before molesting him, he claims.

On at least two of those occasions the priest paid him $200 to $300, the suit said. When he turned 18, the priest paid him $3,000 to give “written assurance” he wouldn’t report the abuse to police or church authorities, the suit alleges.

The suit accuses the priest of keeping gay pornography on his computer at residence at the parish and kissing other teen boys he hired for custodial work.

“We’re encouraged whenever victims find the courage to speak up and take action, especially when they do so at relatively younger ages,” said David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “Kids are safer when victims step up more quickly.”

“We hope anyone with information or suspicions that might help prove or disprove these allegations will come forward promptly,” Clohessy added.

A spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Chicago said church officials had not yet seen the lawsuit as of Thursday evening.

The priest started working at northwest suburban parish in 1989 but “surrendered his clerical status” and moved out of state in 2007, the suit says. He had been educated at an Archdiocese of Chicago seminary and ordained in 1981, it says.

The archdiocese spokeswoman could not immediately confirm details of the man’s employment history with the church.

The defendant’s name does not appear on the archdiocese’s list of priests against whom allegations of abuse have been substantiated.

The three-count suit claims abuse and battery against the former priest, as well as negligence against the archdiocese. It seeks at last $50,000 in damages.

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