Chicago Archdiocese settles sex abuse case for $1.75 million

A sex abuse case against the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Carmelites, a Catholic religious order, has been settled for $1.75 million, attorneys for the victim announced Friday.

The case was brought by a woman who claimed she was repeatedly abused as a child in the 1980s by Robert Boley, a Carmelite priest who taught at St. Cyril Catholic School in Woodlawn. The school, at 6423 S. Woodlawn Ave. has since closed.

“During one school year, he abused her multiple times in the classroom, having her stay inside for recess and sexually assaulting her while also telling her she was a bad child, that God was angry with her and making her read the Bible during the abuse,” according to a statement released Friday by Romanucci & Blandin, the law firm that represented the woman.

“Prior to his role at St. Cyril’s Catholic School, Father Boley worked with children in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, where he has been accused of molesting at least two children. He was transferred from Los Angeles to Chicago by the Church without a documented explanation,” according to the statement.

The woman no longer lives in the Midwest, her attorneys said Friday.

The case was settled in June through a mediated process before a lawsuit was filed.

When asked for comment on the settlement, the alleged actions and whereabouts of Boley, an Archdiocese spokesman said in an email: “We don’t comment on settlements, lawsuits or pending litigation.”

The Order of Carmelites, Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary, based in suburban Darien, lists Boley on its website as a “member against whom a credible or public allegation of childhood sexual abuse has been made” and states he was removed from ministry in 2006 and put on a “Safety Plan.”

Messages to the Carmelites regarding Boley’s status as a priest and whereabouts were not returned Friday.

In explaining what a “Safety Program” is, the Carmelite website states: “This rigorous relapse prevention program provides appropriate psychological treatment designed by professionals specifically for offenders and entails monitoring and supervision for the rest of the member’s life.”

Attorneys for the woman alleged church leaders knew or should have known Boley was a sexual predator and was unfit to supervise children prior to being transferred to the Archdiocese of Chicago.

“Our client endured unspeakable abuse as a child at the hands of someone she was taught to obey, trust and respect. The abuse had a devastating impact on our client, and detrimentally changed the trajectory of her life. After engaging in lengthy discussions, we appreciate that the Carmelites and Archdiocese of Chicago recognized the physical, psychological and spiritual harm caused and were willing to be a part of the healing process,” attorneys representing the victim stated.

According to a report published in 2019 by Minnesota-based attorney Jeff Anderson that named priests accused of sex abuse, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles settled a lawsuit in 2007 alleging abuse by Boley.

In 2018, an investigation by then-Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan found 690 priests accused of abuse in Illinois, with Catholic officials identifying only 185 of them with credible allegations against them.


A list of where Robert Boley worked as a Carmelite priest. The list was compiled by the Carmelites and is listed on their website under credibly abused members of the Darian-based religious order.

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