SOUTH BARRINGTON, Ill. (AP) – A massive Chicago-area evangelical church whose founder faces accusations of sexual harassment paid $3.25 million to settle lawsuits alleging a church volunteer sexually abused two disabled children.
The Chicago Tribune reports that court documents show Willow Creek Community Church made the payments last year and in February. The church has denied related allegations of negligence.
The volunteer, Robert Sobczak Jr., is serving a seven-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in 2014 to sexually abusing an 8-year-old boy at the church and an older boy who wasn’t connected to Willow Creek.
The payments came before church founder Bill Hybels resigned in April. He has denied groping allegations dating to the 1980s. The church’s Board of Elders apologized last week for being slow to take the accusations seriously.
Information from: Chicago Tribune