Chicago-area men allege abuse by members of bankrupt religious order

April 30, 2013 at 9:33 AM   |   Comments

CHICAGO, April 30 (UPI) -- More than 30 Chicago-area men sued the Roman Catholic Congregation of Christian Brothers, accusing the order of allowing teachers to abuse them decades ago.

Over half of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed Friday claimed they were sexually abused by one member of the order who later was convicted in Washington state of indecent behavior, the Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday.

The lawsuit said the religious order knowingly moved that member among Brother Rice, Leo and St. Laurence high schools. One of the schools' principals recommended the accused brother to a public school system in Washington.

Sixteen of the men who alleged sexual abuse at the three schools pointed to the one member of the order, the Tribune said. Eleven other members of the order and two lay people were named in the suit.

When Christian Brothers declared bankruptcy in April 2011, it notified alumni they could file claims through U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The 32 plaintiffs in the suit filed Friday were unable to get restitution.

"There has been difficulty determining what, if any, assets the Christian Brothers have to pay claims," said Attorney Mark McKenna, who represents the 32 plaintiffs. "We felt it was important to protect the rights of our clients to file this lawsuit right now."

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