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Chicago Archdiocese To Pay $1.75 Million To Woman Who Says Priest Sexually Abused Her At South Side Catholic School

A woman who said disgraced priest Robert Boley abused her at the defunct St. Cyril Catholic School in Woodlawn "demonstrated tremendous courage coming forward," her attorneys said. Boley was linked to other abuse scandals in Los Angeles before working in Chicago.

The Shrine of Christ the King burned in 2015.
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Warning: The following story includes descriptions of sexual abuse.

WOODLAWN — A woman who says disgraced priest Robert Boley repeatedly sexually abused her as a child will receive a $1.75 million settlement from the Archdiocese of Chicago and the local Carmelite province, her attorneys announced Friday.

The woman, who was not named, said Boley abused her multiple times in a classroom when she attended St. Cyril Catholic School, 6423 S. Woodlawn Ave., her attorneys said.

Boley, who was assigned to the St. Clara-St. Cyril Parish in Woodlawn from 1987-1989, was the girl’s teacher at the now-defunct school, she said through her attorneys.

The priest kept the girl inside for recess and sexually assaulted her, making her read the Bible during the abuse, the woman said. He also called her a bad child and told her God was angry with her, she said.

“Our client endured unspeakable abuse as a child at the hands of someone she was taught to obey, trust and respect,” attorney Martin Gould said. “The abuse had a devastating impact on our client, and detrimentally changed the trajectory of her life.”

The Archdiocese of Chicago and the local Carmelite province, the Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary, settled with the woman in June for $1.75 million, her attorneys said this week.

“Our client demonstrated tremendous courage coming forward to tell her story and seek accountability,” Gould and attorney Valerie Letko said in a statement. “We are confident the testimony she provided to the Illinois Attorney General’s Office as part of their investigation into clergy abuse within the state will ultimately lead to necessary policy changes and protect future generations of children from abuse. We are proud of Jane Doe.”

The Archdiocese of Chicago declined to comment, as the church “doesn’t comment on settlements, lawsuits or pending litigation,” spokesperson Manuel Gonzales said.

Boley was assigned to St. Clara-St. Cyril after 12 years in Los Angeles, according to the Carmelites’ list of members with “credible or public allegations” of sexually abusing children.

Another case against Boley, in which a woman accused him of abusing her as a child while he taught at Los Angeles’ St. Raphael Parish in the 1980s, was one of hundreds of abuse claims settled by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 2007.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ $660 million payout to settle the Boley abuse claim and more than 500 others remains the largest-ever settlement in the Catholic Church’s decades-long sexual abuse scandal.

When asked whether the Archdiocese of Chicago was aware of abuse accusations against Boley upon his arrival at St. Clara-St. Cyril in 1987, Gonzales directed Block Club to the Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary.

The province did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Boley remained a priest for 17 years after leaving St. Clara-St. Cyril, as he was re-assigned to parishes in Kentucky, Ontario, New Jersey and southwest suburban Darien.

He left the priesthood at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Darien, Illinois, in 2006 after officials learned of the accusation against him in Los Angeles, according to a Darien Suburban Life article archived on

“As of 2007, it was believed that Fr. Boley was residing at the Carmelite House in Joliet, Illinois, and working in their archives,” USA Today reported in 2019. “Fr. Boley’s current whereabouts, status as a priest, and whether he has access to children are unknown.”

“Church leaders knew or should have known that Father Boley was a sexual predator and was unfit to supervise minor children prior to being transferred to the Archdiocese of Chicago,” Gould and Letko said.

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