Category Archives: Settlements

$5.6 Million Sexual Abuse Settlement By Illinois School District

Sexual abuse settlements of four lawsuits totalled more than $5.6 million last year in Freeburg School District 70.  Freeburg is located in Southwestern Illinois.

The sexual abuse allegations pertained to alleged incidents involving former Superintendent Robin Hawkins.

Details on these four settlements, and the underlying sexual abuse allegations, are contained in the February 22, 2014 Belleville News Democrat article titled “Freeburg School District 70 to pay more than $5.6 million to settle sex abuse cases.”

Two excerpts from the article:

Four former elementary school students alleged they were sexually abused by former Freeburg School District 70 Superintendent Robin Hawkins and the district knew but did nothing to stop it.

The four cases settled last year for payments worth more than $5.6 million.


After Hawkins’ death, some Freeburg residents rallied behind Hawkins, Weilmuenster said, vilifying the victim. That’s when other victims came forward.

That’s not uncommon, said McGrath, who also trains schools on how to avoid sex abuse litigation.

“It’s not unusual for people to bury (these kinds of allegations) and protect the adults,” McGrath said. “These are professional people with reputations, families and are respected in the community. The perpetrators know this and play that advantage. They also pick victims because they are in some way marginalized. They are poor or they come from single-parent families or they have behavioral issues. They pick these kinds of victims because they are easy to discredit.”

Additional details regarding these alleged sexual abuse claims, as well as details regarding the lawsuit settlements, can be found in the article mentioned above, as well as the February 23, 2014 article titled “Report:  Freeburg schools settles sex-abuse claims.”

Lawsuit Settlement In West Aurora High School Sex Abuse Case

A confidential settlement has been reached concerning alleged sexual abuse at West Aurora School District 129.  Although the settlement was reached before this week, the records of the lawsuit’s settlement were sealed by the judge.

The plaintiff in the lawsuit (named “Jane Doe” in court documents) over alleged sexual abuse at the school, committed by the former high school band director Steve Orland, was one of the two female students  allegedly abused by Orland.

An excerpt from the Aurora Beacon News article of February 5, 2014, titled “Settlement reached in West Aurora sex abuse case” :

Doe’s lawsuit alleged that the school district, Superintendent James Rydland and former West Aurora High School Principal Dan Bridges, who is now the superintendent of Naperville School District 203, failed to protect her from Orland, despite having knowledge of the band director’s past inappropriate behavior with a student in 2010.


Doe alleged that the district, Rydland and Bridges failed to supervise the former teacher or remove him from his post, putting Doe and other female students at risk for abuse.

Another article concerning this sexual abuse lawsuit settlement can be found in the Kane County Chronicle article of February 6, 2014 titled “Settlement reached in West Aurora School District sex abuse case” :

The suit stated school officials failed to report Orland ’s behavior to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, as required by law. According to the suit, Orland initiated a sexual relationship with the plaintiff in December 2009 or January 2010, when the plaintiff was a 16-year-old junior.

Last year, a 10-month Kane County State’s Attorney’s investigation found that possibly as many as 10 district employees had knowledge of suspected abuse by Orland but did not report it to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services as required by law.

Additional information concerning this sexual abuse lawsuit settlement can be found in a variety of media sources, including the Aurora Beacon News and Kane County Chronicle articles mentioned above.

$19.6 Million Settlement Of Priest Sex Abuse Lawsuit

There has been a $19.6 million settlement of a lawsuit between six men who claim they were sexual abuse victims of former Jesuit priest Donald McGuire.

An excerpt from the May 22 Chicago Tribune article, titled “Chicago Jesuits hid sex crimes” :

The documents contributed to a $19.6 million settlement between the Jesuits and six men from four states announced Tuesday. With an average payout of $3 million per person, the amount per individual is the largest in the history of the U.S. Catholic sexual abuse crisis, the victims’ lawyers said. The settlement and the documents add one more chapter to the still unfolding story of sexual abuse in the church.

Additional details regarding the alleged sexual abuse and possible updates can be found in a variety of media sources including the Chicago Tribune article mentioned above, as well as the article of May 21 titled “$19.6 M settlement in priest sex abuse lawsuit against Donald McGuire.”

Chicago Archdiocese Agrees To $3.2 Million Settlement In Sexual Abuse Case

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago has agreed to a $3.2 million settlement with a man who was abused by a priest while the man was at a parish school.

The priest was Daniel McCormack.  He pleaded guilty in 2007 to sexually abusing five boys, and he was sentenced to five years in prison.

Further details can be found in a variety of news sources, including the following:

Reuters, November 15: “Chicago archdiocese settles abuse case for $3.2 million

CBS Chicago, November 15: “Pedophile Priest’s Victim Settles With Archdiocese For $3.2 Million.”

Legal Settlement With Chicago Archdiocese Involving Priest Sexual Abuse

A legal settlement with the Chicago Archdiocese, involving priests accused of sex abuse, will include the creation of a system in which the Archdiocese is required to release the files of certain priests accused of sex abuse.

The details of the case and settlement can be found in today’s Chicago Sun-Times article titled “Archdiocese to release priest sex abuse files under settlement with victims.”

As seen at the end of the article:

The Archdiocese issued a statement saying: “The settlement announced today confirms that this process works, and that attorneys need not put their clients through the ordeal of litigation.”