Last week, Hurley McKenna & Mertz filed five lawsuits against the Diocese of Joliet for failing to protect children from predatory and pedophile priests and teaching staff within the Diocese. This abuse occurred during the 1970s and ‘80s while the victims were young boys, age 8 to 16, in catechism school or in the seminary. These pedophiles swore their victims to secrecy, likely in an effort to hide this despicable behavior from the children’s parents.
The Diocese of Joliet created an environment that gave its pedophile priests and teachers unfettered access to innocent children. Specifically, the Diocese of Joliet allowed known or suspected predators and pedophiles to meet with young boys at remote or private locations outside the presence of other adults. This situation was a formula for disaster and directly led to countless incidents of child sexual abuse under the Diocese’s watch.
Mark McKenna, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs, explained how many of these victims repress the painful memories of abuse: “The scars from child sexual abuse and the secrecy surrounding it take years, even decades to heal properly. The process is extended in the many cases where victims, as a coping mechanism, repress memories of the abuse. That’s why laws have been passed which protect victims by allowing them to seek damages when their memories are ‘unlocked.'”
The law firm of Hurley McKenna & Mertz intends to hold the Diocese of Joliet accountable for its failures that led to these innocent victims suffering life-altering abuse.