Men with repressed memories of sex abuse sue Presbyterian church

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Sun-Times file photo

File photo

Two men filed separate lawsuits Thursday alleging they were sexually abused by a Presbyterian pastor in the 1980s at a church in the West Side Ukrainian Village neighborhood.

The lawsuit names the Chicago Presbyterian Church, Presbytery of Chicago, San Marcos Church and Church Extension Board of the Presbytery of Chicago as defendants.

The men claim they were sexually abused in the 1980s by Pastor Douglas Mason, who ministered youth at the San Marcos Church at 2028 W. Augusta Blvd., according to the lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court.

Pastor Mason died in early 2006, according to the Presbytery of Chicago.

In 2007, the Presbytery reached a settlement with four people who accused the pastor of sexual abuse, according to a statement from Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

In 2015, seven other men filed lawsuits against the Chicago Presbyterian Church and related agencies, the Chicago Sun-Times previously reported. That lawsuit alleged Mason paid for the boys’ high school tuition and would check them out of class at least once a month to molest them in the ’80s and ’90s.

After the 2015 lawsuit was reported, the men who filed their suits Thursday under the aliases John Doe 5 and John Doe 6,  realized they had repressed memories of the pastor’s sexual abuse, their suit said.

“Reporting child sexual abuse is one of the most difficult human experiences of a lifetime,” SNAP President Barbara Blaine said. “Now, more than ever, it is time for any parishioner or former parishioner to speak up if he or she experienced, witnessed or suspects wrong doing. Their generosity in taking these steps will help protect others.”

John Doe 5 was 12 years old when the abuse began in 1983 and lasted for three years at the San Marcos Church and youth ministry, the lawsuit stated. John Doe 6 was 15 years old in 1986 when his abuse began and continued for two more years.

Both lawsuits claim the Presbytery of Chicago and related organizations were aware of previous sexual abuse allegations involving Mason, but failed to take any action, according to the lawsuit. It also alleges the church failed to inform their congregation of and covered up Mason’s history of child sexual abuse by privately resolving the issues.

Each three-count suit seeks more than $150,000 for negligence, fraudulent concealment of claims and equitable estoppel.

The Presbytery of Chicago could not be reached for comment Thursday night.

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