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Burbank Park Dist. sued over hiring of child molester in ’84

Thomas Hacker | Illinois Dept. of Corrections

The Burbank Park District is named in a lawsuit filed Thursday in Cook County by a man who says he was abused by the district’s former director — convicted child molester Thomas Hacker.

The suit was filed by a man using the alias John Doe and seeks more than $100,000 in damages from the Burbank Park District for negligence and willful and wanton misconduct, according to the court documents.

John Doe was 10 yeas old when he was sexually abused by Hacker while he was employed as the director of the Burbank Park District between 1984 and 1988, the suit said.

The suit claims the park district should have known Hacker was a danger to children due to two previous convictions against him for sexually abusing young boys in Indiana and Illinois in the 1970s.

John Doe said he began recalling suppressed memories of the abuse he suffered by Hacker in October 2014 after he encountered a person with with a similar name through his job, according to the suit.

The Burbank Park District was negligent and acted willfully and wantonly when it allowed Hacker to be alone with John Doe for hours; hired Hacker after conducting or failing to conduct an appropriate background check that showed he was a danger to children; and ignored warning signs and complaints that Hacker was behaving inappropriately with children, the suit said.

As a result of the abuse, John Doe suffered permanent injuries and continues to be damaged psychologically, the suit said.

Hacker, who has admitted to molesting hundreds of boys, was arrested by Burbank police in 1988 and charged with molesting a 14-year-old boy who was a member of a Boy Scout Troop he led, according to previous reporting by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Hacker, now 81, is currently serving a 100-year sentence at the Big Muddy Correctional Center in downstate Illinois.