Child Sexual Abuse by Boy Scouts Staff, Priests, Clergy and Teachers--YOU ARE NOT ALONE
Boy Scouts Sex Abuse
Victims of child sex abuse must endure the severe emotional distress from the abuse for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, the Boy Scouts of America has provided countless opportunities for sexual predators to abuse children over the last century. Predatory pedophiles have infiltrated the Boy Scouts of America at every level, from volunteers to executives, and used their association with Boy Scouts to prey on innocent children.
Recently, Boy Scouts of America was forced by court order to release a portion of what are known as the "perversion files." The perversion files were created for adult volunteers accused of sexually abusing minors in Boy Scouts. These files show that the Boy Scouts organization in Illinois and in other states covered up child sex abuse and protected predatory pedophiles by failing to report instances of abuse to law enforcement.
Hurley McKenna & Mertz currently represents multiple courageous individuals who survived sexual abuse at the hands of Boy Scout volunteers and staff, including two of the most notorious predators - Thomas Hacker and Charles Bickerstaff. These survivors are coming forward to bring those responsible for the abuse to justice.
For more information about our work in this area, including an explanation of what to expect in the legal process, a checklist for parents and victims, answers to Frequently Asked Questions, and other information, please click here.
Clergy Sex Abuse
Brother, Priest or clergy sex abuse cases can be some of the most devastating to the victims. In these cases the victims put their trust and faith in a member of the clergy only to be exploited sexually and left to feel a lifetime of guilt and loss of trust. From roughly the 1950’s to the 1980’s, child sexual abuse by clergy occurred across the country virtually unchecked. Churches, including but not limited to the Catholic Church, hid allegations of sexual abuse and fellow parishioners often failed to believe the victim or blamed the victim for the abuse. Therefore, while child sexual abuse pervaded churches during this time period, victims faced significant barriers to reporting the abuse and receiving care for the emotional harm caused by the abuse. It is clear that the Catholic Church put its reputation ahead of innocent victims for many years by hiding abuse committed by its employees.
In the past, adult victims of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of clergy members would have been barred from suing the perpetrators and their employers—generally, a church or religious order--by state statutes of limitations and repose. However, when a victim of childhood sexual abuse cannot discover his or her injury, based on the unique damage associated with childhood abuse and the refusal of church authorities to disclose the actions of their clergy, then the law must accommodate that plaintiff. The Chicago law firm of Hurley McKenna & Mertz is dedicated to fighting for the right of victims of sexual abuse to finally get the truth from the religious institutions who have so far fought to protect the abusers, and not the abused.
Hurley McKenna & Mertz is experienced in handling a wide variety of sexual abuse cases, including cases against the Catholic Church, the Archdiocese of Chicago, the Irish Christian Brothers and the Boy Scouts of America. For example, Hurley McKenna & Mertz obtained a record $12 Million settlement from the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago on behalf of three children permanently injured by severe abuse.
Christopher T. Hurley attended Catholic grade school in Chicago, graduated from La Lumiere, a Catholic high school in Indiana, and later obtained his law degree from Loyola University College of Law in Chicago. Mark R. McKenna attended St. Laurence High School, an Irish Christian Brothers school in Chicago. Chris and Mark are experienced trial lawyers who have represented many victims of abuse.
Lawsuits Against Chicago Public Schools and Burbank Park District
Notorious predator Thomas Hacker did not limit his abuse to young boys in the Boy Scouts of America. Unfortunately, he appears to have sought out other professions that allowed him to be close to children as well. Hurley McKenna & Mertz represents men who were abused by Hacker in his positions as an elementary school teacher and a park district director.
A recent article in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin discussed the lawsuits filed by Hurley McKenna & Mertz against Chicago Public Schools and the Burbank Park District, on behalf of men who were abused by Hacker while he served these organizations. These lawsuits allege that Chicago Public Schools and the Burbank Park District knew or should have known about Hacker's prior criminal convictions related to sexual activity with minors and should not have hired him.
The article quoted partner Christopher T. Hurley describing Hacker's horrific legacy, "Hacker was a serial molester and he left dozens of victims in his wake."
Clergy Sex Abuse Article Published in Illinois Bar Journal
Christopher T. Hurley and Mark R. McKenna recently wrote an article about
In Wisniewski v. Diocese of Belleville, the Illinois Appellate Court held that a Catholic Diocese’s fraudulent concealment of abuse by its priest tolled the statutes of limitation and repose. In other words, a now middle-aged victim of child sex abuse could still bring his claim against the diocese, even though a great deal of time had passed since the abuse, because the diocese prevented the man from discovering the abuse.
In their article, Mr. Hurley and Mr. McKenna review the Wisniewski case in depth, give an overview of
If you survived abuse, act now.
Even if the abuse occurred long ago, you may still be able to pursue claims against the organizations involved in the abuse.
If you are a victim of sexual abuse or are inquiring on behalf of a friend or family member who has suffered a sexual assault, contact Hurley McKenna & Mertz at 312.553.4900 immediately to confidentially discuss these claims.