According to the Chicago Tribune, Reverend Daniel McCarthy from St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, a parish in Norwood Park, was removed by the Archdiocese of Chicago. The archdiocese’s decision was made following allegations against McCarthy for sexual abuse of a minor 50 years ago at the Angel Guardian Orphanage in Chicago’s West Ridge neighborhood.
McCarthy, a chaplain at Notre Dame Prep since 2012, was at the orphanage from 1967 to 1974. Since 2013, McCarthy also served as chaplain at the Resurrection College Prep High School, an all-girls Catholic school in Norwood Park. McCarthy has been asked to live away from the parish while the investigation continues.
McCarthy declined to comment, he said “I’m just not ready to comment yet, hopefully at some time in the future,” reported the Chicago Tribune.
Attorney contributor Brian Kent, an experienced sexual abuse lawyer, represents victims of sexual abuse and their families in civil lawsuits. In the below commentary, Kent provides insight on victim’s rights when sexually abused by a reverend.
“Religious organizations have a legal obligation to uphold members’ safety. Reverends and other clergy members have been reported for exploiting their religious community’s trust through sexual assaults. We have seen these cases all across the country. Unfortunately, this sexual abuse occurs at all ages, including children and adolescents. These religious organizations are obligated to do everything possible to stop the harm of sexual exploitation of their members.”
“Religious organizations may be considered liable in a civil lawsuit if a reverend harms a member and the organization is found negligent. One example of negligence is if a reverend had previous sexual misconduct complaints filed against them, but the organization failed to perform a thorough investigation of said reverend and allowed them to continue working. To ensure all members’ safety, organizations should implement security measures at their locations. If the religious organization does not implement ample safety measures (e.g., accessible reporting systems) or investigate allegations, it may be considered negligent. Victims of sexual abuse and their families should know they may have grounds for a lawsuit and receive compensation for damages.”