Suit claims sex abuse by former St. Rita dean
August 22, 2012 10:38PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 7:58AM
A man is suing the Chicago Archdiocese, claiming a now-dead Augustinian brother who served as dean of St. Rita High School sexually abused him more than 30 years ago when he was a student at the Southwest Side school.
The plaintiff, listed as John Doe, was a teenage student at St. Rita and a devout Catholic when the abuse happened in 1977 or 1978, according to the lawsuit. It says Christopher McCartney repeatedly pulled the boy out of class to his office where he would fondle him, and when the boy would try to leave, the brother wouldn’t let him.
The plaintiff recovered the repressed memories of the alleged abuse in 2011, according to the suit.
The archdiocese received the lawsuit Wednesday afternoon but has not had the opportunity to evaluate it yet, a spokeswoman said. But she said the archdiocese does not own or operate St. Rita and “we have no authority over the members of the Augustinian order serving in Augustinian institutions.”
The lawsuit accuses the archdiocese of failing to have a system in place to supervise brothers to prevent sexual contact with minors and that archdiocesan officials knew McCartney had molested boys but did not restrict his access to them or report him to authorities.
McCartney entered the Augustinian order in 1961 and worked at high schools in St. Louis and Detroit before moving to St. Rita in 1973, the school website says. He served as a dean at the all-male high school for five years. He later worked at Maryville Academy in Des Plaines and St. Joseph Parish in Pekin, Ill., and then worked outside Chicago before he died in July 2002.
Hegarty & Hegarty, the firm representing the plaintiff, is considering adding the Augustinian order as a defendant to the lawsuit, his attorney said. The order could not be reached for comment.