Facing the prospect of a sexual abuse trial in Illinois can indeed be an overwhelming experience. The legal terrain is intricate, brimming with unfamiliar terms and intricate procedures that can seem daunting at first glance. However, rest assured that you won’t be alone to navigate this complex journey.

In the following guide, we’re here to provide you with a clear roadmap. Our aim is to demystify the process and shed light on what to anticipate during a sexual abuse trial in Illinois. Our informative journey will simplify complex information, giving you knowledge and understanding in navigating this challenging terrain.

Understanding the Legal Process

The legal process in Illinois for sexual abuse trials can be daunting, but it is essential to understand its complexities. The initial step typically involves reporting the incident to law enforcement or a trusted authority figure.

An investigation then ensues where detectives gather evidence and interview witnesses to establish if there’s sufficient proof to charge the alleged perpetrator under Illinois laws relating to criminal sexual assault or aggravated criminal sexual assault.

Different Stages of a Criminal Trial

A preliminary hearing usually follows this stage. Here, it’s determined whether there’s substantial evidence for continuing case proceedings. If affirmative, charges are formally read during an arraignment session, and pleas entered by defendants. This transitions into the pre-trial motions phase and the discovery period, where the defense attorney and prosecuting attorney exchange information about their respective cases, significantly shaping trial strategies.

Jury Trial vs. Bench Trial

In sex crimes involving serious allegations like child sexual abuse that involve sexual penetration, many opt for bench trials due to potential bias among jurors against such heinous acts of sexual violence. In contrast, some choose a jury trial. The choice between these two largely depends on defendant preferences and specific circumstances surrounding individual cases within the state’s jurisdiction.

Court Proceedings & Roles Involved

During court hearings, regardless of whether a jury trial or bench trial, all parties present arguments before the selected juror panel and presiding judge, respectively. The prosecution presents first, followed by rebuttals from the defense team, who also get the opportunity to cross-examine opposing witnesses, thus impacting final verdicts based on the effectiveness of examinations conducted at this stage.

The penalty for a criminal act depends on how serious the offense is. It can range from a Class 1 felony to a Class 4 felony, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections regulations. These regulations determine the level of seriousness of different types of sexual crimes.

Key Takeaway: In an Illinois sexual abuse trial, the process kicks off with reporting and investigation, followed by a preliminary hearing to determine if there’s enough evidence for proceedings. The case then moves into pre-trial motions and discovery before transitioning to a jury or bench trial based on the defendant’s preference. Court hearings involve arguments from both sides and cross-examinations of witnesses leading up to the verdict.

Preparing for Trial

The prospect of a sexual abuse trial in Illinois can be daunting. It is essential to understand the trial process and how to best equip yourself and your witnesses for it.

Your Role: Testifying Against the Accused

In cases involving criminal sexual violation or aggravated criminal sexual assault, you will likely need to testify about the alleged perpetrator’s actions. Your account forms an integral part of establishing whether any illegal conduct occurred.

A defense attorney may undermine your testimony by pointing out inconsistencies or gaps in your narrative. Working together with the prosecuting attorney beforehand ensures that you are ready for these tactics in the crucial stage of a sex crimes case.

Witness Preparation: Ensuring Credibility

Eyewitnesses present during the incident could also serve as key witnesses during trial proceedings if they provide additional evidence against accused parties supporting allegations of child sexual abuse or other types of serious sex crimes. Prior meetings with legal professionals ensure their testimonies remain credible and consistent under cross-examination from opposing counsel.

Mental Health Support: Coping With Trauma

Telling traumatic experiences like child sexual abuse before strangers inside a courtroom often takes an emotional toll on victims/witnesses alike. It might, therefore, prove beneficial to seek mental health support prior to stepping into court.

Equipping individuals with coping strategies necessary for navigating through the challenging process ensures the best possible outcomes even when facing severe charges like class 1 felony, class 2 felony, and/or class 4 felony.

Evidence Collection

Unveiling the truth in sexual abuse trials often hinges on evidence collection. This crucial stage involves assembling a compelling body of physical, digital, and testimonial proof to present during Illinois court proceedings.

Types of Evidence: From Physical Clues to Digital Trails

Criminal cases around sex crimes like criminal sexual assault or child sexual abuse require diverse evidence. Physical clues can include clothing or bedding containing DNA traces linked with the alleged perpetrator.

In this digital age, electronic trails via text messages, emails, or social media posts indicating inappropriate behavior also form an essential part of the evidentiary puzzle. Beyond tangible objects and online footprints, verbal accounts play a significant role, too. Statements from victims, witnesses, and experts are key components when presenting facts about incidents involving aggravated criminal sexual assault under Illinois law’s hearsay exceptions for child sex crimes.

The Science Behind Presenting Evidence

The prosecuting attorney’s role in any trial, whether a bench trial or a jury trial, is to present proof that the defendant committed acts like criminal sexual conduct. Their goal is to convince the court beyond any reasonable doubt.

Simultaneously, defense attorneys will dissect each piece minutely, aiming at casting doubts over its validity/relevance. Rape kits’ DNA analysis results are potent physical proofs, especially if they involve penetration-related incidents. However, not all sex offenses involve penetration; hence, corroborative testimony becomes invaluable when hard physical evidence lacks presence.

Navigating Admissibility Standards

All pieces presented must meet admissibility standards set forth by Illinois courts based on rules established at both state and federal levels. This ensures only legally obtained information respecting constitutional rights is taken into consideration, or else risk exclusion per Federal Rule 402: General Admissibility Of Relevant Evidence.

Key Takeaway: In an Illinois sexual abuse trial, the importance of evidence can’t be overstated. Each piece plays a pivotal role in painting the full picture, from physical clues to digital trails and testimonies. Yet, presenting it convincingly while navigating admissibility standards is a delicate dance between prosecution and defense attorneys.

Testifying at Trial

Testifying in a sexual violence trial can be intimidating, but with the right preparation and support, it is feasible to successfully traverse this difficult circumstance. The following steps will help you understand what to expect during your testimony.

Tips for Effective Testimony

Your defense attorney is vital in helping you get ready for your time on the stand. They should help you prepare for questions from the judge and the prosecuting attorney. This will ensure that you don’t face any unexpected or uncertain situations when discussing the events of criminal sexual assault or other sex crimes.

Apart from practicing beforehand, another tip includes maintaining eye contact while speaking, which helps build credibility with those present, including jurors who may play a part in determining if the alleged perpetrator would be found guilty under Illinois law.

Navigating Cross-Examination Questions

Cross-examinations are designed by opposing counsel primarily to discredit witnesses’ testimonies, creating doubt about their accounts, especially where cases involve penetration-related allegations such as aggravated criminal sexual assault. If faced with aggressive questioning tactics, don’t panic; remain calm and stick strictly to the facts without embellishment or speculation.

Your Defense Attorney’s Role During Your Testimony

Defense attorneys represent clients facing felony charges, ranging from class 1 to class 4. They also help victims prepare to testify effectively during legal proceedings, such as bench trials, jury trials, or cases in Illinois department-controlled courts. This involves explaining each step of how criminal court procedures work, thus enabling them to focus more on healing rather than stressing over the intricacies of the legal system itself, thereby reducing anxiety associated with the unknowns involved.

Key Takeaway: Testifying in a sexual abuse trial can be overwhelming, but having a defense attorney to guide and prepare you can make it easier. To ace this, you must grasp potential inquiries, make eye contact to appear trustworthy, remain composed when cross-examined, and trust your attorney’s knowledge of Illinois court processes.

Jury Selection

In Illinois, particularly in criminal cases with serious charges such as sexual abuse or aggravated criminal sexual assault, the jury selection process is critical for deciding guilt or innocence. This phase involves picking impartial jurors who will determine the guilt or innocence of an alleged perpetrator.

The Initial Pool of Jurors

The Illinois law enforcement system selects potential jurors from various databases such as voter registration lists and driver’s license records. The aim is to ensure a fair representation of society on juries for sex crimes trials.

These individuals then fill out questionnaires that offer insights into their backgrounds and beliefs. Attorneys use these responses during voir dire–the formal questioning stage–to identify any biases that could influence judgment in sensitive matters such as child sexual abuse.

Voir Dire: A Closer Look

In this part of the jury trial, the prosecutor and defense attorney can question potential jurors about their personal experiences with sex offender cases. They can ask about their knowledge of Illinois law regarding inappropriate sexual conduct.

If either party feels that preconceived notions or bias towards victims or defendants can affect fairness, they may request removal “for cause.” Additionally, each side has peremptory challenges where they can dismiss certain candidates without stating why.

Selecting Final Jury Members

A final panel usually consists of 12 main members and some alternates. The number of alternates depends on whether it is a bench trial (where only the judge decides) or a traditional jury trial (where the jury makes the decision). The goal remains the same: selecting unbiased individuals capable of making fair decisions based solely on the evidence presented at court hearings involving allegations ranging from simple touch-based offenses to more severe forms like class 1 felony offenses.

Closing Arguments

The final stage of a sexual abuse trial in Illinois is the closing arguments. Here, both sides can summarize their case and remind jurors about key evidence, witness testimonies, and how they relate to sex crimes under Illinois law. Understanding this phase can be crucial as it heavily influences the jury’s decision-making process. The order typically starts with the prosecuting attorney, followed by your defense lawyer.

Prosecution’s Final Stand

In criminal cases involving aggravated criminal sexual assault or child sexual abuse, prosecutors will strive to establish guilt beyond reasonable doubt. They may revisit important pieces of evidence, such as physical findings that indicate non-consensual sexual conduct or statements made by alleged perpetrators that suggest inconsistency. This often involves drawing attention to contradicting testimony from witnesses alleging unlawful acts, including those involving sexual penetration without consent.

Your Defense Attorney’s Response

Your defense attorney then has a chance to counteract these allegations put forth by prosecutors during their turn at delivering closing arguments. They have two main tasks here: 1) debunking accusations, and 2) creating doubt among the jurors about whether any illegal actions were committed, especially if the incidents could be considered a violation under class 1, class 2, or even class 4 felony definitions for sex offender laws in Illinois state.

If successful, this could lead to either complete acquittal on charges brought against you or reduced from higher-level felonies into lesser ones carrying less severe penalties upon conviction, potentially mitigating long-term consequences significantly in the post-trial period.

Verdicts & Sentencing in Illinois Sexual Assault Trials

The legal journey of a sexual abuse case culminates with the verdict and sentencing. The decision, reached by jury deliberation or judge’s ruling, establishes whether the defendant is guilty. An acquittal signifies that reasonable doubt led to a not-guilty finding. Sex crimes convictions can range from Class 4 to Class 1 felonies, depending on the severity and circumstances of each case.

Sentencing Hearing Procedures: What Happens Next?

If found guilty during either a bench trial or jury trial at an Illinois Department’s Criminal Court, what follows is known as a sentencing hearing. The prosecuting and defense attorneys present arguments regarding appropriate sentences during this stage. They consider factors such as the nature of the crime (sexual violence), victim impact statements, and any previous convictions of a sex offender, among others.

Appeals & Post-Trial Motions

The conclusion of a sexual violence trial does not necessarily mean the end of legal proceedings in Illinois. Under Illinois law, both parties retain the right to file appeals and post-trial motions.

Navigating Appeals in Sexual Abuse Cases

An appeal is a plea for review by an upper court in the hopes that they may overturn or modify the lower court’s decision. This process typically follows when one party believes there was some error during their criminal trial, such as an incorrect application of laws related to sex crimes like aggravated criminal sexual assault or procedural errors. This statement underscores how crucial timing can be following verdicts involving serious allegations like child sexual assault and other forms of sexual violence within our justice system.

Motions After Trial

Beyond filing an appeal, defendants also have options for submitting post-trial motions, including a motion for a new trial or a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV). These are generally filed when fresh evidence emerges, which could significantly impact case outcomes–particularly those involving sexual penetration-related offenses where facts were initially overlooked at bench or jury trials for various reasons.

Potential Outcomes Following Appeals & Motions

If successful in appealing the conviction or obtaining a favorable result from a post-trial motion, it could result in a shorter sentence, a new trial, or even being declared not guilty. This depends on the specific circumstances of each case, which can involve charges ranging from a Class 4 felony to a Class 1 felony.

However, unsuccessful attempts might add more time to the original sentence imposed by the judge, so it’s critically important to seek advice from experienced attorneys before proceeding further into this stage.

Our team here at Lane Brown, LLC remains committed to assisting individuals in navigating through the complexities involved while dealing with these sensitive issues amidst the often overwhelming emotions attached to the associated experiences faced by victims throughout statewide jurisdictions across Illinois.

Key Takeaway: In Illinois, a sexual abuse trial’s conclusion doesn’t necessarily mean the end of legal proceedings. Parties can file appeals and post-trial motions if they believe there were errors or new evidence emerges. These steps could lead to sentence reduction, retrial, or acquittal but might extend original sentences if unsuccessful. It’s crucial to seek experienced legal counsel during this complex process.

Resources & Support Services

In the aftermath of a sexual abuse trial in Illinois, victims can access various resources and support services. These range from counseling services to legal aid organizations that assist with civil litigation or criminal prosecution cases related to their experience.

Counseling Services for Healing

The psychological impact of sexual violence often necessitates professional help. RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) provides confidential counseling and crucial resources designed specifically for survivors of such crimes.

Legal Aid: Navigating the Post-Trial Landscape

Beyond emotional recovery, legal guidance is also critical after a trial concludes. For instance, Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS) offers pro bono representation, particularly beneficial for low-income individuals who need further assistance navigating complex post-trial scenarios, including potential appeals and filing motions.

Victim Compensation Programs: Financial Assistance

Sexual offenses such as aggravated criminal sexual assault and child sexual abuse result in physical and emotional harm and cause financial difficulties for the victims. Compensation programs are important in Illinois law to help cover medical expenses and lost wages resulting from treatment, time off work, and attending court proceedings.

  • Victim compensation programs offer financial relief covering costs associated directly with the crime committed against the victim. 
  • Survivors of crime in Illinois may receive financial assistance for medical expenses, lost wages due to healing or court appearances, and even funeral costs if death results from the incident. 
  • It is advisable to consult an expert before applying for a victim compensation program, as eligibility requirements may differ.

What to Expect During a Sexual Abuse Trial in Illinois: FAQs

What is the sentence for sexual assault in Illinois?

In Illinois, a conviction for criminal sexual assault can result in 4 to 15 years imprisonment. However, aggravated cases may attract longer sentences.

What is the statute of limitations for sexual abuse in Illinois?

Illinois has no statute of limitations for felony sex offenses committed against minors under 18. For adults, it’s typically within ten years after the victim turns 18.

When investigating a sexual offense, what critical evidence must be established?

Evidence like physical findings, DNA samples, witness testimonies, and potential digital records are crucial when investigating a sexual offense case.

What is the sentence for aggravated criminal sexual abuse in Illinois?

The sentence for aggravated criminal sexual abuse ranges from three to seven years imprisonment but could extend up to fourteen with certain aggravating factors present.


Embarking on the path of navigating a sexual abuse trial in Illinois starts with grasping the intricacies of the legal process. As you prepare for trial, you must arm yourself and your witnesses with knowledge and confidence. Remember that resources are available to support victims throughout their journey towards justice. At Lane Brown, LLC., we specialize in personal injury lawsuits, including serious cases involving sexual abuse. We’re here to guide you through each stage of the process, ensuring you receive fair representation and justice. Contact us today for more information on how we can assist during such challenging times.

Victims of sexual abuse have been through something no one should ever have to experience. The criminal justice system often fails survivors, leaving them feeling discouraged that those responsible for the abuse haven’t been punished to the fullest extent of the law. 

Fortunately, there are other options that sexual abuse survivors can use to get justice and hold the liable parties accountable for their actions. Pursuing a civil claim may be an excellent option whether your abuser was convicted in criminal court or escaped criminal penalties. But, in some cases, other parties other than you abuser can be compelled to compensate you.

Continue reading to learn more about who can be sued for sexual abuse through a Chicago personal injury claim and how to ensure that you are awarded maximum restitution for the abuse you endured. 

Filing a Lawsuit for Sexual Abuse

Civil court is much different from criminal court in a number of ways. For example, in civil court, it’s up to you to pursue the claim, whereas criminal charges are brought forward by the state, represented by a prosecuting attorney.

The burden of proof also differs in civil vs. criminal court cases for sexual abuse. In civil court proceedings, your sexual abuse lawyer will need to prove only based on a preponderance of the evidenced that the named parties are liable. But in criminal court, the burden of proof is much higher, and the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused are guilty. 

Your sexual abuse lawyer must thoroughly review the details of your case, as there are other parties that may be held accountable for the abuse as well. For example, if your child was abused in a school setting, your civil claim may also name school staff and even the school itself as partially liable as they had an obligation to protect your child and failed to do so. 

Compensation for the Suffering You Endured

No amount of money will change what happened to you, but it can help you to cover the financial losses you may be struggling to cope with and serve as a form of justice for the emotional trauma you’ve experienced. Some of the most commonly sought-after damages in a Chicago sexual abuse lawsuit include:

  • Costs of mental health counseling
  • Lost wages and earning capacity
  • Medical expenses, copays, and prescription medications
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of consortium

Meet with a Chicago Sexual Abuse Lawyer

If you have been sexually abused, get in touch with a compassionate Chicago sexual abuse lawyer at Lane Brown, LLC for help filing a civil claim

Our firm offers complimentary consultations to survivors of sexual abuse across the state. Take advantage of this opportunity and give our office a call at 312-332-1400 or fill out the brief contact form below. 

If you were sexually abused as a child in Illinois, you may not feel comfortable coming forward about the abuse until much later in life. Thankfully, the state of Illinois has a twenty-year statute of limitations for child sexual abuse. This statute of limitations doesn’t begin until you turn eighteen and can also begin later if you don’t realize the abuse occurred until later in life.

Once you’re aware of the abuse, however, you should speak up so you can prevent further abuse from occurring. Even if you can’t press criminal charges against your abuser, a Chicago sexual abuse lawyer from Lane Brown, LLC can help you press civil charges and seek justice. 

Where Child Sexual Abuse Occurs

Child sexual abuse can occur anywhere—at home, at school, in daycare, or at church. Depending on where the abuse occurs, there may be more than one liable party. For example, if you were sexually abused as a child in church, it’s possible to sue both the church and your abuser.

Children are often sexually abused by people close to them, which is why it can be difficult to know when abuse is occurring. Your abuser may have taught you that what was happening to you was okay but later on in life, you may have developed a deep sense of shame and guilt.

Suing the Abuser in Civil Court

Suing your abuser in civil court will get you the justice you deserve for your mistreatment. Not only can you receive a settlement for the abuse you’ve experienced, but you may find that speaking up about your experience after all these years is healing and allows you to move forward in peace.

If evidence is no longer available to criminally convict your abuser, a civil lawsuit will get the abuser’s name out in the public and show the world the type of person they are. 

Damages You Can Receive for Your Mistreatment

If you can successfully prove that child sexual abuse occurred, then you can get the most out of your claim by accounting for both economic and non-economic damages in your lawsuit.

Economic damages may include any medical expenses you’ve incurred from physical or mental treatment resulting from the abuse. Non-economic damages may include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. The judge may also award punitive damages in a child sexual abuse lawsuit to further punish the abuser and make an example of them.

Contact a Chicago Sexual Abuse Attorney

Coming forward about child sexual abuse can be difficult. If you’ve held the shame and hurt of your experience deep inside for a long time, you may find it hard to speak up. But, when you decide it’s time to come forward, it can be a deeply healing experience.

To schedule a free consultation with a Chicago sexual abuse lawyer from Lane Brown, LLC, call 312-332-1400 or fill out the confidential contact form below.

Sexual abuse is one of the worst things anyone can experience because it takes both a physical and emotional toll on the victim and the effects can last a lifetime. Although sexual abuse assailants may be charged in criminal court and punished with jail time and legal fines, the civil claims process is where abuse victims can seek compensation from their attacker for the incident.

When filing a civil sexual abuse claim, a sexual abuse lawyer in Chicago can be helpful in both proving negligence to the court and maximizing your claim’s value. At Lane Brown, LLC, our attorneys have handled numerous sexual abuse cases and can ensure that your damages are calculated fairly.  

Economic Damages

Economic damages are typically the first category of damages that the court considers in civil claims because these include tangible financial losses that a victim has experienced.

When it comes to sexual abuse, economic damages may include any immediate medical expenses you’ve incurred from the incident, as well as property damages and loss of income from being out of work. Economic damages can also include future medical expenses for therapy, medications, and other mental health treatment.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages also play a significant role in sexual abuse cases, because even if there’s no sign of physical injury to the victim, the emotional side effects can be severe.

Your Chicago sexual abuse attorney will examine numerous non-economic damages you may have experienced, including pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, and emotional distress. These damages will be calculated using situational factors, such as your age and the severity of the incident.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are rare and they can only be awarded by a judge. However, sexual abuse cases are one exception where punitive damages are awarded more frequently. This is because punitive damages are awarded when the defendant is proven to have intentionally caused harm to the victim.

Some factors which are considered when awarding punitive damages include the following:

  • The financial standing of the victim
  • How long the abuse took place
  • How often the abuse occurred
  • The fact that the sexual abuse was physical
  • The fact that the assailant hid the abuse

It’s likely that the judge will award punitive damages knowing that the sexual abuser acted willingly and deserves to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Your lawyer will argue to secure you the maximum compensation possible for your suffering.

Consult a Chicago Sexual Abuse Attorney

If you’ve experienced an incident or an ongoing period of sexual abuse, it’s important to file a civil claim even if you’ve already been brave enough to face the abuser in criminal court. A civil lawsuit is the only way you’ll receive compensation for what you’ve been through. At Lane Brown, LLC, we can guide you through the legal process and help you recover all possible damages.

To discuss your case in greater detail with a Chicago sexual abuse lawyer, you can fill out the contact form below or call 312-332-1400 for a confidential consultation.

Sexual abuse is one of the most traumatic experiences a person can go through, and when you’ve been abused but are ready to stand up to your abuser and others who are partially responsible for the abuse you endured, you need the help of an experienced sexual abuse attorney.

The sad truth is that in many cases, there are individuals or entities who could have put a stop to the abuse you were subjected to, and turning a blind eye is a form of culpability that should be acknowledged in court. Not only can you seek compensation from your abuser, but you can file claims against anyone who failed to protect you, which can help you find the justice and closure you deserve.

Read on to learn more about filing a sexual abuse claim against a third-party and what damages your attorney can fight to recover in your case.

When to Pursue a Civil Claim

You might be thinking that filing a lawsuit isn’t your responsibility, as the state’s prosecutor has already, or is going to, file criminal charges against your abuser or the other involved parties. However, criminal law is very different from civil law, which means you have an opportunity to take matters into your own hands and bring them to justice in civil court.

Your civil lawsuit against a third party could be anyone who had knowledge of the abuse you were put through, failed to protect you from abuse, or failed to report suspected abuse to the proper authorities. Claims are often brought against companies, schools, day care centers, teachers, and other individuals in positions of power who failed to do what was morally right.

Recoup the Damages You’re Entitled To

Apart from building your case against these negligent persons, one of your attorney’s primary responsibilities is to figure out much to sue for. Your damages will be calculated by examining the various ways your life has been influenced by the abuse inflicted upon you. Commonly sought sexual abuse damages include the following:

  • Emergency funds
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Medical expenses
  • Mental health counseling
  • Loss of companionship and love
  • Relocation costs
  • Lost income

You can discuss other losses you may have experienced with your sexual abuse attorney in Chicago. Ultimately, the goal is to get the most out your claim so that these parties have to be held accountable for the harm that they directly or indirectly caused you.

Get in Touch with a Chicago Sex Abuse Lawyer

If you are considering filing a civil lawsuit against a third-party who may have been partially responsible for the sexual abuse you suffered, you can reach out to an experienced Chicago sex abuse lawyer at Lane Brown, LLC for assistance.

We offer sexual abuse survivors across Chicago and the surrounding areas free claim reviews so we can learn more about the individual details of your case. Schedule your confidential case evaluation by calling 312-332-1400 or by submitting the online contact form we have provided at the bottom of this page.

Eighteen Jesuit priests linked to institutions in the Chicago area have been named in a list detailing sexual abuse allegations that span six decades.

The list, released this week by the Midwest Province Jesuits, contains the names of dozens of Jesuit priests who have had credible sex abuse allegations made against them since 1955. More than fifty of those named were accused with “reasonable certainty” of sexually abusing a minor.

Response to Past Sex Abuse Scandals

The release of this list is part of a response to previous sex abuse cases that have occurred within the Catholic Church, Midwest Province Jesuit officials said. Attempting to conceal sexual abuse allegations is a scandal in and of itself.

Midwest Province officials said a priest’s inclusion on the list did not prove guilt, but they encouraged anyone who has been abused by a Jesuit priest to come forward and contact the appropriate authorities.

A letter accompanying the list apologized to victims of abuse.

“We recognize that our feelings on this day are nothing compared to the depth of suffering endured by those who have been abused, especially by one as trusted as a priest or vowed religious,” wrote the Rev. Brian G. Paulson, provincial of the Midwest Province Jesuits.

Jesuit Sex Abuse in Chicago

The list included Jesuit priests with ties to various parts of the Midwest, but at least eighteen of the priests had ties to the Chicago area. Several worked at area institutions, including Loyola Academy, St. Ignatius College Prep, Holy Family Parish, and Loyola University Chicago.

Chicago-area priests named on the list included the following:

  • Donald McGuire
  • M. Lawrence Reuter
  • Ignatius Burrill
  • Donald O’Shaughnessy
  • Wilton Skiffington
  • Gerald Streeter
  • Mark Finan
  • J. Robert Koch
  • Stanley Wisniewski
  • Harry Barton
  • Allan Kirk
  • Donald Butler
  • Maurice Meyers
  • John Lane
  • David McCarthy
  • Thomas Gannon
  • Philip Mooney
  • John Powell

Many of the priests with ties to Chicago have died. All were dismissed or removed from public ministry.

Media reports noted that it was unclear how many of the allegations were reported to law enforcement officials or civil authorities.

Help for Sex Abuse Victims in Chicago

Our thoughts are with the victims of church sexual abuse in Chicago and all over the world. We hope that steps like the release of this list encourage victims to come forward and hold their abusers—and those who allowed the abuse to happen—accountable.

If you or someone close to you has been abused by a member of the church or anyone else, the abuser can be held accountable in civil court. The Chicago sexual abuse lawyers at Lane Brown, LLC can help you build your case and recover the compensation you deserve for what you’ve been through.

To contact us, call our firm at 312-332-1400 or fill out the online contact form below.

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