- New child sex case filed against cleric
- It’s the first time he’s been publicly accused
- Catholic brother was dean of discipline at school
- He’s accused of repeatedly abusing St. Rita High School student
Holding signs and childhood photos, sex abuse victims will disclose a new child sex abuse and cover up lawsuit against a Catholic brother and teacher at a prestigious parochial school who has never been accused before.
Tuesday, Aug 21, 1:30 p.m.
Outside of the Archdiocese of Chicago chancery office, 835 N. Rush St. (north of Chicago Ave)
The victims’ attorney along with two or three sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. (John Doe, the victim in this case, will NOT be available.)
According to the new suit, Brother Christopher J. McCartney allegedly repeatedly abused a boy between 1977 and 1978, while the boy was a student at St. Rita’s High School, on Chicago’s southwest side. Under the guise of punishing the minor for misbehavior, Brother McCartney would order the boy into this office and not allow him to leave, and would then sexually abuse him. At that time, McCartney was working as the Dean of Discipline at the school.
McCartney left St. Rita in the late 1970s and worked briefly as a “dorm parent” for children who were wards of the court at Maryville Academy (847 294 1999) in Des Plaines before he was assigned to St. Joseph Parish in Pekin, Illinois (in the Peoria Diocese 309 671 1550) where he worked as youth director until 1988.
Defendants in the suit include the Chicago Catholic archdiocese and its top official, Cardinal Francis George. The school, St. Rita’s, is not named as a defendant.
The lawsuit alleges that the Archdiocese and Cardinal George failed to put into place “any system or procedure to supervise and/or monitor brothers’ abstinence from sexual activity or pre-sexual grooming of a child.” It also claims that they implicitly and explicitly represented that “McCartney was safe, and morally and spiritually beneficial to all children and students attending St. Rita’s.”
The alleged crimes took place at St. Rita of Cascia High School, 6243 S. Fairfield Avenue, which has since moved to 7740 S. Western Avenue. Both are in Chicago.
This is the first time that McCartney has been accused of abusing a child. McCartney, who passed away in 2002, was an Augustinian brother. The Augustinians are a mendicant order of the church and are headquartered in Spain.
In 2003, another former Augustinian cleric, Fr. John Daniel Murphy, was sued for molesting as many as 17 boys in the 1970s and 1980s. From 1970 to1993, Murphy also taught at parochial schools in Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Michigan. After leaving the priesthood, he worked at Shedd Aquarium as a docent and guest services supervisor. Fr. Murphy, like Br. McCartney, also worked at St. Rita’s.
SNAP urges anyone who suspected, witnessed or experienced abuse by Brother McCartney, Fr. Murphy or any other clerics to report it to law enforcement officials.
The victim is represented by Chicago attorneys Terrence K. Hegarty and Jessica A. Hegarty 312-263-7728.
Barbara Blaine, 312 399 4747, firstname.lastname@example.org, David Clohessy, 314 566 9790, email@example.com