Former Maryville resident alleges he was a victim of academy leader

After six years as a ward of the state, Clarence George Jr. arrived at Maryville Academy in Des Plaines, and thought perhaps he'd finally found a place where he could feel at home.

And the then-11-year-old had found a friend in the Rev. John P. Smyth, who ran the home for troubled kids.

"His approach was very soft-spoken," George, now 29, recalled Tuesday. "It was very easy for me at the time to deem him someone I could trust, someone I could talk to and confide in."

Instead, Smyth, who died earlier this year, sexually abused George on "multiple occasions" between approximately 2001 and 2004, according to a lawsuit filed this week in the Cook County.

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