Lawsuit claims second victim of church volunteer
A pair of lawsuits filed against a convicted child sex offender and Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington claim the man, a former church volunteer, molested more than one child through its program for special needs kids while the church negligently supervised him.
The second lawsuit was filed Thursday in Cook County circuit court on behalf of the 8-year-old boy whom Robert Sobczak 20, admitted to molesting in February 2013. The Hoffman Estates man pleaded guilty in December to a charge of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and was sentenced to 24 months probation.
The lawsuit follows another filed in late November on behalf of a second child whose allegations have not led to criminal charges.
Attorney Scott Rudin said the boy, like the 8-year-old in the other case, has special needs and had two years of regular contact with Sobczak through Willow Creek’s “Special Friends Program.” He was 8 and 9 years old at the time, Rudin said.
The civil complaint alleges more than one incidence of sexual abuse by Sobczak. The claims were revealed during a May 2013 meeting among police, church officials and parents of children in the Special Friends Program, Rudin said.
All the children in the program fall into various special needs categories, all of which have some impact on their ability to communicate, he added.
The lawsuit on behalf of the 8-year-old victim was filed Thursday by attorney Kevin J. Golden. According to Golden, the boy’s mother was specifically told by church officials that her son would never be alone with one adult.
Willow Creek officials released a written statement saying they could not comment on pending litigation, especially when a minor is involved, but that they have and always will cooperate with law enforcement.
“We remain committed to the safety and protection of all children and vulnerable adults who attend our church, and follow a strict protection policy that includes thoroughly vetting and training all staff and volunteers,” the statement reads.
South Barrington police officials could not be reached for comment Thursday.
The lawsuits each seek more than $50,000 in damages from Sobczak and Willow Creek.
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