Four more lawsuits filed against pedophile, CPS, Burbank Park District
BY SUSAN DEMAR LAFFERTY email@example.com February 20, 2013 1:48PM
Thomas Hacker | AP file photo
Updated: March 22, 2013 10:29AM
Four more people who said they were victims of convicted pedophile Thomas Hacker have come forward and filed lawsuits this week in Cook County Circuit Court, alleging that Hacker “routinely and frequently” molested them in the 1970s and 1980s, according to a news release from the law firm Hurley McKenna and Mertz P.C.
The lawsuits, filed anonymously, are against Hacker; Chicago Public Schools and its board of education, which employed Hacker as a teacher; and the Burbank Park District, where he was a director. All are seeking damages in excess of $50,000.
Hacker, 76, is serving a 100-year prison term for molesting a 14-year-old member of a Boy Scout troop he led at a parish in Oak Lawn in the 1980s.
The lawsuits each seek at least $50,000 in damages, as does a lawsuit filed by another person in December against Hacker and the Boy Scouts of America for numerous instances of sexual assault and battery from 1985 to 1986, when Hacker was a Scoutmaster.
The latest lawsuits allege that from 1971 to 1974, while Hacker was a teacher at Doolittle East School, he molested three of the victims, who at the time were 10 and 11 years old. The fourth victim claimed in his lawsuit that he was molested as frequently as once a week by Hacker from 1984 to 1988, when Hacker was a Burbank Park District employee, serving in capacities that included park district director.
The lawsuits allege that the school system and the park district failed to discover Hacker’s prior convictions for molesting children.
While a schoolteacher in Indianapolis, Hacker was convicted in August 1970 of assault and battery with intent to gratify sexual desire. He was convicted in Cook County in November 1971 for taking indecent liberties with a boy in Mount Prospect.
“After two convictions for molesting children, this criminal pedophile was hired in jobs that allowed him to prey on more kids — not once or twice, but dozens of times over the span of nearly two decades,” said Christopher T. Hurley, whose firm is representing all of the plaintiffs in the lawsuits. “There was a collective failure of multiple institutions to protect children entrusted to them.”
Hacker had an “unacceptable level of private, unsupervised access” to children, escorted them on field trips and campouts, and spent “significant time with them in his offices, during odd hours, behind closed doors,” Hurley said in the release.
Burbank Park District officials did not immediately return a call seeking comment.