Diocese of Joliet Clergy Sex Abuse Files Released

We represent fifteen individuals who were sexually abused in the Diocese of Joliet between the early 1960s and the early 1990s.  The cases involve the following eight perpetrators:  Father James Nowak, Father Myles White, Father Lee Ryan, Father Michael Gibbney, Father Lowell Fischer, Father Fred Lenczycki, Father Larry Gibbs, and Mr. Emery Stiglich, a diocesan school principal.  These abusive priests were assigned to a number of parishes including the following:

  1. St. James the Apostle in Glen Ellyn;
  2. St. Mary Nativity in Joliet;
  3. St. Boniface in Monee;
  4. St. Francis in Bolingbrook;
  5. St. Bernard in Joliet;
  6. Sacred Heart;
  7. Holy Ghost in Woodale;
  8. St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.

Click here to access the Joliet Diocese Clergy Abuse documents.

Christian Brothers Bankruptcy Approved

Our attorneys helped negotiate a $16.5 million settlement in the Christian Brothers bankruptcy.  On January 9, 2014, a bankruptcy court in New York approved of a bankruptcy plan that will distribute the majority of their assets to sexual abuse survivors.  At the hearing, Jason P. Amala thanked the bankruptcy court for the respect and empathy it showed our clients throughout the bankruptcy process, and for providing the first step toward closure.  The bankruptcy plan only applies to the Christian Brothers in North America, and allows abuse survivors to pursue claims against other entities, including the owners of schools where the abuse happened.  <<Read More>>

Father Kownacki Finally Defrocked

It took more than 40 years, but the Catholic Church has finally defrocked Father Raymond Kownacki.  A number of abuse survivors who were abused by Kownacki filed suit against the Catholic Church, and evidence uncovered during that litigation revealed that the Church knew decades ago that Kownacki was abusing children.  Rather than defrock him then, multiple Church leaders moved him from parish to parish without disclosing why he had been moved.  The cases resulted in more than $6 million in verdicts and settlements with the Catholic Church.  If you survived abuse by Father Kownacki or another person in a position of power, please read about our sexual abuse attorneys and then contact us to learn your options.

Boy Scouts Perversion Files

Thousands of the Boy Scout “perversion files” are being made public for the first time.  Our co-counsel Michael Pfau and Jason Amala, sexual abuse attorneys in Washington, have created a website for survivors of Boy Scout abuse and attorneys who need help prosecuting claims against the Boy Scouts.  If you survived abuse while in Scouting in Illinois, we encourage you to visit that website and then contact us to learn your options.

Get the Justice You Deserve.

The Boy Scouts, the Catholic Church, and many other organizations put their reputation ahead of innocent victims for many years, but they cannot deny the growing number of abuse survivors who have come forward to hold them accountable.  We are Illinois attorneys who have substantial experience helping abuse survivors prosecute their claims against these types of entities, including the Boy Scouts and the Archdiocese of Chicago.  For example, we recently obtained a record $12 million settlement from the Archdiocese of Chicago on behalf of three children who were permanently injured by severe abuse.

In addition to our local experience, we have teamed-up with attorneys who have helped hundreds of abuse survivors across the country, including Seattle sexual abuse attorneys Michael T. Pfau and Jason P. Amala.  Those attorneys have helped lead the fight against these entities across the nation, including Washington, Alaska, Oregon, Montana, Wisconsin, Louisiana, and New York.

Our team of sexual abuse attorneys is dedicated to fighting for the right of survivors of childhood sexual abuse to finally get the truth from the institutions who for many years have fought to protect the abusers, and not the abused.  Even if the abuse occurred long ago, you or someone you love may still be able to pursue claims against the organizations involved in the abuse. If you are a survivor of sexual abuse or are inquiring on behalf of a friend or family member who has suffered a sexual assault, please contact Hurley McKenna & Mertz to confidentially discuss your potential claims. Remember:  YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

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You are not alone.

The problem of sexual abuse of children by Boy Scout leaders, Catholic priests, and other people in who have positions of authority is real.  It is also local to Illinois.

For example, very recently, thousands of “perversion files” of the Boy Scouts of America have been publicly released.  The files contain dozens and dozens of entries that reflect allegations of abuse by Scout leaders in Illinois.  Likewise, in 2006, the Archdiocese of Chicago released a list of Archdiocesan priests who were no longer in public ministry because of a substantiated allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor, going back to 1950. Despite publishing this list, the Archdiocese of Chicago has not reached out to help the victims of these priests and clergy.

Other Catholic religious orders have done little to help people who survived abuse by their members in Illinois.  For example, two corporations of the Congregation of Christian Brothers, which operated at least four Catholic schools in Illinois, recently declared bankruptcy rather than face survivors in state court.  One of those corporations is based in Illinois and holds assets the Christian Brothers earned while working at those schools.