On Tuesday, it was announced that six men reached a settlement with the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus for a total of $19.6 million. According to the attorney for the victims, the average amount recovered by each individual makes this the largest settlement per person in the history of the U.S. Catholic sexual abuse crisis. The settlement arises out of a lawsuit against the Chicago Jesuits that alleged that the church knowingly concealed the crimes of convicted sex offender Donald McGuire for more than 40 years. During that time, it was alleged that the prominent Roman Catholic priest continued to sexually molest and abuse multiple children around the globe while the church concealed the crimes and allowed McGuire to remain in his position.
Also released on Tuesday were internal church records that confirmed the allegations and showed that the church did in fact conceal and cover-up the crimes and ongoing sexual abuse committed by its priest, Donald McGuire. The records confirm that the church kept McGuire’s crimes hidden for four decades while McGuire continued to abuse children. Indeed, currently there are 28 men that have alleged abuse by McGuire from the 60’s until 2004. According to the attorney for the victims in this settlement, “Jesuits made choices time and time again that demonstrated willful indifference…not one Jesuit official has yet to be prosecuted for their complicity in these crimes.”
The internal church documents coming to light are disturbing to say the least. The documents show that the church had received reports regarding McGuire’s abuse decades prior the first lawsuit and prior to McGuire’s criminal conviction. Indeed, the internal church documents demonstrate a pattern of conscious indifference by the organization to the outcries of the abused children and their families.