Archdiocese Settles Sex Abuse Case for $8M

By Jordyn Reiland

September 9, 2019

A man has agreed to an $8 million settlement with the Chicago Archdiocese and former Chicago priest John Calicott.

The settlement was reached in March without a lawsuit being filed, according to Blake W. Horwitz of The Blake Horwitz Law Firm Ltd., who represented the John Doe plaintiff. Under the conditions of the agreement, the firm had to wait 90 days to release details of the settlement to the public.

Though the settlement agreement did not detail specific allegations against Calicott, the former South Side church leader was found guilty of child abuse in a 2008 church tribunal and was stripped of his clerical status.

In the 1990s, the archdiocese placed Calicott on administrative leave after credible sexual abuse allegations arose against him. But he was soon returned to an active ministry.

According to a firm-issued news release, Horwitz’s client claims he was abused by Calicott after his return in 1995.

The Horwitz firm announcement indicated the dispute was mediated by former Cook County judge Philip L. Bronstein with ADR Systems.

Horwitz also said his own research suggests the settlement is the largest recovery for an individual in a priest sex abuse case in U.S. history.

The Jury Verdict Reporter, a product of Law Bulletin Media that organizes data on Illinois verdicts and settlements, does not specifically index priest abuse, according to JVR Editor John R. Kirkton. But among sexual abuse cases involving minors, the largest individual recovery in Cook County was a $9.6 million settlement published in JVR on March 29, Kirkton said.

The church was represented in the matter by the law firm Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella. Paula Waters, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese, declined to confirm information about the settlement or comment on the case.

Daily Law Bulletin Editor Marc Karlinsky contributed to this report.