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Man sues Scouts for $50M over alleged sexual abuse

St. Louis de Montfort Church Oak Lawn Tuesday December 4 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media

St. Louis de Montfort Church in Oak Lawn on Tuesday, December 4, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 6, 2013 10:09AM



For decades, a 35-year-old man lived with the years of sexual abuse he claims he suffered as a boy at the hands of serial pedophile Scoutmaster Thomas Hacker.

Now he is suing Hacker, the Boy Scouts of America and the organization’s Chicago Area Council for more than $50 million for their roles in the abuse. The lawsuit comes a little less than two months after the Boy Scouts’ “ineligible volunteer files,” which were used to track pedophiles in the organization, were made public.

“There’s a tendency for people to hush up in these situations, which is something that plays into hands of pedophiles, criminals that victimize children,” said the man’s attorney, Chris Hurley. “My client strongly feels that bringing this story to light may help people come forward and help society get it out and deal with it.”

The victim, who is not named in the suit, was molested by Hacker “on routine occasions,” starting in 1985, according to the suit filed in Cook County Circuit Court on Tuesday. Hacker and the Boy Scouts of America were previously sued in 1990 and 1992 for similar charges.

Hacker, now 75, is serving a 100-year prison term for molesting a 14-year-old member of a Boy Scout troop he led at a parish in Oak Lawn in the 1980s.

Long before that — and long before the abuse alleged in this week’s lawsuit — he was arrested in Indiana for sexual assault and battery of boys while he was a teacher in the Indianapolis public schools in 1970. Just after he was convicted, he pleaded guilty in 1971 to taking “indecent liberties” with a boy in Mount Prospect.

When he left Indiana, Hacker taught in the Chicago Public Schools and then took a job at Most Holy Redeemer Catholic School in Evergreen Park in 1982. He quit the job months later that year after school officials discovered he had encouraged three students to stay after class and prompted one of them to drop his pants.

Six years after leaving Most Holy Redeemer, Hacker showed up at St. Louis de Montfort in Oak Lawn, this time not as a teacher but as a leader of Boy Scout Troop 1600. At the time, he was also youth director for the Burbank Park District.

According to the lawsuit, Hacker first molested the man in 1985 when he was 10 years old, after the two met through the troop. The abuse lasted until 1987, and Hacker was charged with his other crimes involving members of the troop in February 1988.

Boy Scouts of America spokesman Deron Smith wrote in a statement that “any instance of child victimization or abuse is intolerable and unacceptable.”

A spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Chicago, which oversees both Most Holy Redeemer and St. Louis de Montfort, declined to comment.



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