“There are no allegations that Hybels had any connection to Sobczak’s case. Hybels stepped down from the helm of the church in April, six months ahead of schedule, amid claims of inappropriate behavior with women, including employees.”
(Robert McCoppin – Chicago Tribune) Willow Creek Community Church agreed to pay more than $3 million to settle lawsuits over the sexual abuse of two developmentally disabled boys by a church volunteer, court records show.
The second and largest of the settlements, for $1.75 million, was made in February, before the Tribune revealed unrelated claims that the evangelical megachurch’s founder, the Rev. Bill Hybels, engaged in inappropriate conduct with women, eventually leading to his early retirement and, this month, the resignation of the church’s two leading pastors and its entire board of elders.
The influential South Barrington church also agreed last year to pay $1.5 million to another victim of former volunteer Robert Sobczak Jr.
Sobczak, now 24, is serving a seven-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in 2014 to sexually abusing an 8-year-old boy with special needs at the church and an older boy who was not connected to Willow Creek. In 2013, Sobczak pleaded guilty to sexually abusing another disabled boy, around age 9, at the church, and initially received probation in that case.