The Chicago Catholic Archdiocese and the religious order, the Carmelites, settle priest sex abuse allegations.
The Archdiocese of Chicago and the Catholic religious order, the Carmelites, have settled a sex abuse case for $1.75 million. A woman had alleged she was abused as a child on multiple occasions in the 1980s by Father Robert Boley, a Carmelite priest who taught at St. Cyril Catholic School in Woodlawn. The school is now defunct.
“During one school year, he abused her multiple times in the classroom, having her stay inside for recess and sexually assaulting her while also telling her she was a bad child, that God was angry with her and making her read the Bible during the abuse,” according to the plaintiff’s attorneys Romanucci & Blandin, adding, “Prior to his role at St. Cyril’s Catholic School, Father Boley worked with children in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, where he has been accused of molesting at least two children. He was transferred from Los Angeles to Chicago by the Church without a documented explanation.”
Photo by Ivan Samkov from PexelsThe sex abuse case is representative of a larger problem in which the Catholic Church has historically covered up abuse or turned a blind eye to it by transferring priests who get into trouble from one place to the next instead of terminating them. In fact, in 2018, an investigation led by former Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan found 690 priests had been accused of abuse in Illinois. However, officials of the Catholic Church found only 185 of them to be credible.
Attorneys for the woman in the current case alleged church leaders knew or should have known Boley was a sexual predator. They said, “Our client endured unspeakable abuse as a child at the hands of someone she was taught to obey, trust and respect. The abuse had a devastating impact on our client, and detrimentally changed the trajectory of her life. After engaging in lengthy discussions, we appreciate that the Carmelites and Archdiocese of Chicago recognized the physical, psychological and spiritual harm caused and were willing to be a part of the healing process.”
The plaintiff, who wished to remain anonymous, stated, “The money is nice, but you want to be a healed person. At this point in my life, I should be able to have a relationship with a man and not be immediately distrustful. And that’s what this did to me, it made me not trust men.” She added of the priest, “He deserves to be in jail.”
Illinois’ extended statutes of limitations allowed her to bring the case against the defendants. However, the same limitations prevented her from filing criminal charges against Boley.
The Order of Carmelites, Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary, says of Boley on its website, he is a “member against whom a credible or public allegation of childhood sexual abuse has been made” and he was “removed from ministry in 2006 and put on a ‘Safety Plan’.” The Safety Plan is defined as follows on the site: “This rigorous relapse prevention program provides appropriate psychological treatment designed by professionals specifically for offenders and entails monitoring and supervision for the rest of the member’s life.”
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