SGGH and Levy Konigsberg LLP File Civil Lawsuit Against the Archdiocese of Chicago

Attorneys say that despite the Archdiocese determining in 1993 Fr. Keehan had “credible” allegations of child sexual abuse, he was allowed to remain as head pastor and regularly sexually abused students

(EZ Newswire)

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CHICAGO, IL -- Stinar Gould Grieco & Hensley, PLLC, and Levy Konigsberg, LLP announce the filing of another lawsuit on behalf of a fourth St. Ann’s student alleging sexual abuse against the Catholic Bishop of Chicago (aka the Archdiocese of Chicago) surrounding Fr. Keehan’s tenure at St. Ann’s Elementary School and Parish in Chicago. The complaint outlines Fr. Keehan’s extensive history of abusing minors, which began in 1967, shortly after his ordination. In 1993, the Archdiocese's Professional Fitness Review Board determined that there was at least one "credible" allegation of child sexual abuse involving Fr. Keehan, and concluded he posed too significant a danger to ever be left alone with any minors. Despite this finding, the Archdiocese allowed Fr. Keehan to continue his ministry at St. Ann’s School and Parish in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. During this time, Fr. Keehan served as Head Pastor, overseeing the elementary school and parish, which had approximately 300 children. Parents, parishioners, and teachers at St. Ann’s were never informed of Fr. Keehan history of abuse, and consequently he continued to prey upon unsuspecting minors. Fr. Keehan remained at St. Ann’s until the early 2000s, when he was eventually placed in the Cardinal Stritch Retreat, a facility where the Archdiocese placed many of its pedophile priests.

For decades, the Archdiocese misled the public, parishioners, and its own teachers and lay staff regarding the serious dangers children faced at Archdiocesan parochial schools and parishes by predatory priests. For example, in late 1992, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin and the Archdiocese’s Director of Legal Services informed media outlets, including the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune and the Catholic Reporter, that no priest who has ever engaged in sexual misconduct with a minor will ever return to parish ministry or any type of ministry that includes access to minors. At the time they made these statements to the public, they knew they were not true.

Plaintiff, now an adult, filed this case as John Doe 4 to protect his identity. He is the fourth former St. Ann student to file a lawsuit against the Archdiocese related to abuse perpetrated by Fr. Keehan at St. Ann’s. Plaintiff is the 8th known victim of abuse by Fr. Keehan. The Archdiocese failed to promptly report any allegations of abuse perpetrated by Fr. Keehan to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), law enforcement, or the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. Currently, despite the number of victims who have come forward, Fr. Keehan is still a priest.

A history of Fr. Keehan’s assignment history within the Archdiocese is below, with notes in red regarding locations where there have been allegations of sexual abuse misconduct with minors.

  • 1967: Year Fr. Keehan was Ordained by the Archdiocese
  • 1967–1974: St. Basil, Chicago, IL (CHI) *allegations Fr. Keehan sexually abused several minors, male and female
  • 1974–1979: Our Lady of Good Counsel, Chicago, IL (CHI) *at least one former student
  • 1979–1980: St. Benedict, Blue Island, IL (CHI)
  • 1980–1983: St. Thomas of Canterbury, Chicago, IL (CHI)
  • 1981–1983: Truman College, Chicago, IL (CHI)
  • 1983–1985: Our Lady of Lourdes, Chicago, IL (CHI)
  • 1985–1990: Queen of Angels, Chicago, IL (CHI)
  • 1990–1991: Holy Innocents, Chicago, IL (CHI)
  • 1991–2004: St. Ann, Chicago, IL (CHI) *at least four former students
  • 2004: On leave
  • 2005–2010: Other Assignments (CHI); Cardinal Stritch Retreat House, Mundelein, IL (CHI)
  • Fr. Keehan is still alive and believed to be residing at the Bishop Lyne Residence, a retirement home for priests located in Palos Park, IL

Plaintiff is represented by Stinar Gould Grieco & Hensley, PLLC Founding Partners Martin D. Gould, Mike R. Grieco, Bryce T. Hensley, and Attorney Valerie A. Letko; and Levy Konigsberg, LLP Partners Jerome H. Block and Audrey P. Raphael.

"This case is every parent’s and child’s worst nightmare. The Archdiocese allowed a priest they knew had sexually abused children to run an entire elementary school and parish, where he had essentially unlimited, unsupervised access to children. Keehan was instructing the Principal and teachers to instruct children to leave class to ‘help’ him in the Church or rectory, where he would sexually abuse them and then send them back to class. The Archdiocese never warned any of the parents, students, or teachers about Fr. Keehan, and instead, allowed the school to continue to teach the children that this dangerous predator was ‘Christ’s representative on earth’ and their and path to salvation," said SGGH Founding Partner Martin D. Gould.

"Sexual abuse has a devastating lifelong impact on victims continuing from childhood through adulthood destroying lives and families. Our clients trusted the Archdiocese to protect them and the Archdiocese failed. We are immensely proud of the courage our clients demonstrate in coming forward and speaking out against their abusers, including the clergy," said LK Partner Audrey P. Raphael.

If you are a former student, altar server, or parishioner who experienced sexual abuse by Fr. Jack Keehan or within the Archdiocese of Chicago, or have any helpful information, please contact Stinar Gould Grieco & Hensley, PLLC (justice@SGGHLaw.com; www.sgghlaw.com) to discuss your legal rights.

For media inquiries, please contact Lynn Smith at lynn@lynnsmithtv.com.

About Stinar Gould Grieco & Hensley, PLLC

Stinar Gould Grieco & Hensley is a boutique national personal injury firm dedicated to advocating for victims of abuse and catastrophic injuries in high-stakes litigation. We pride ourselves on being Innovators of Law and Providers of Justice. Our attorneys have litigated and won cases nationwide, representing thousands of individuals, including hundreds of survivors of rape, sexual assault, and childhood sexual abuse in many of the highest profile abuse cases across the country. These cases include claims against institutions such as University of Michigan (Dr. Robert Anderson), Michigan State University (Dr. Larry Nasser), professional sports teams, Jeffrey Epstein, private and public schools, elite private boarding schools, orphanages, foster care programs, hospitals, mental health facilities, Fortune 500 companies, and numerous religious institutions and related entities. Recent successes include participating in global settlements valued at nearly $3 billion. For more information, visit https://www.sgghlaw.com.

About Levy Konigsberg, LLP

Founded in 1985, Levy Konigsberg, a national law firm, has been a leader in representing victims in many settings including victims of sexual abuse in churches, hospitals, prisons, jails, and juvenile detention facilities. LK is proud to advocate for victims of sexual abuse at the hands of clergy members, medical professionals, and correctional officers. The entire LK team, including trial attorneys and victim advocates, fights for victims across the country and advocates for legislative changes to enable all victims to pursue claims against their abusers no matter where or when the abuse occurred. For more information, visit https://www.levylaw.com.

Media Contact

Lynn Smith
+1 646-717-0354
lynn@lynnsmithtv.com

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SOURCE: Stinar Gould Grieco & Hensley, PLLC

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