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Two men claim now-defrocked priest abused them

Two men filed separate lawsuits Monday against the Archdiocese of Chicago, claiming now-defrocked priest Daniel McCormack abused them at a West Side parish nine years ago.

The lawsuits were filed in Cook County Circuit Court against the Archdiocese and Cardinal Francis George, and list the plaintiffs only as John Doe.

Both men, now in their early 20s, claim they first met McCormack at St. Agatha Catholic Church where he was a pastor and coach starting in September 2000, according to the suits.

One of the plaintiffs claims he was in seventh grade when McCormack first began inappropriately hugging and touching him. The boy, who worked in the parish’s after-school daycare program, claims the then-pastor began sexually abusing him two years later, in 2003.

Another plaintiff, filing a separate lawsuit, claims McCormack began abusing him in 2003, when the priest coached him on a parish basketball team.

Both suits claim the abuse happened on parish property, and both blame the archdiocese for failing to restrict McCormack’s access to children, even though officials knew he had abused minors in the past.

McCormack pleaded guilty in 2007 to abusing five children while he was parish priest at St. Agatha’s, and was laicized in November of that year. In 2008, the Archdiocese of Chicago agreed to pay $12.6 million to 16 victims of sexual abuse by priests, including McCormack. As part of that settlement, Cardinal Francis George also agreed to release a lengthy deposition and apologize to the public and each victim.

A spokesperson for the archdiocese said that officials had not yet seen Monday’s lawsuits, and declined to comment on them.

Each three-count lawsuit claims negligence against the archdiocese, Cardinal George and the Catholic Bishop of Chicago, and claims at least $150,000 in damages.

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