ABC 7 Chicago has reported that a former Chicago priest has been accused of sexual assault when he was the associate pastor of Santa Maria del Popolo church located at 116 N Lake St, Mundelein, IL 60060.
On Saturday, January 22, 2022, the Cardinal Blase Cupich sent letters informing St. Edward and Santa Maria del Popolo Churches of allegations against retired Chicago priest Father James McIlhone. The allegations accuse McIlhone of sexually abusing a minor while the associate pastor of Santa Maria del Popolo during the 1980s.
McIlhone has been asked by Cardinal Cupich to relocate from the Saint Edward parish. He has been living on the property since his retirement.
Attorney contributor Brian Kent represents church sex abuse victims and their families in civil lawsuits. Brian recently explained the legal options available to church sex abuse victims, including their right to file a lawsuit against negligent churches.
"Religious organizations are meant to be a sanctuary to find hope and guidance. Too often, sexual predators are found in these positions of trust, including positions such as priests, pastors, and other religious clergy members. Lately, there have been widespread reports of priests sexually abusing minors within their congregation."
"Churches and religious organizations are legally responsible for the wellbeing and safety of those on their property. It is important that they hire responsibly by conducting background checks on all members of the clergy and that they monitor and supervise their actions. Security cameras and proper reporting procedures can help reduce the risk of abuse."
"Ultimately, when a pastor is accused of sexual abuse, a thorough investigation must follow. Aside from the criminal investigation of the accused, the church should also be investigated for possible negligence. Too often, church misconduct only happens due to church negligence. This could include ignoring previous reports of inappropriate behavior involving the priest. In cases of negligence, church sex abuse victims may have grounds to pursue a civil lawsuit against the church or diocese."
"It is important to hold church leadership accountable for preventable abuse. Victims may not be emotionally capable of reporting the abuse right away. An experienced church sex abuse attorney will provide compassionate guidance while going over any statutes of limitations pertaining to their potential case."