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Another lawsuit was filed in Cook County Circuit Court last week against serial sexual predator and former Burbank Park District Director Thomas Hacker.
Graphic details have emerged from the lawsuit. An Oak Lawn Patch story reported the lawsuit accuses Hacker of pinning boys against pool tables, attacking them while they slept in tents during scout camping trips, and locking them in the church. Many acts of abuse allegedly occurred in group settings.
Below is a timeline of events in Hacker's life beginning with his first run-in with the law as a Scout leader in 1961 through his arrest and conviction in 1989 and the subsequent lawsuits that followed.
While volunteering as an Indianapolis Scout leader, Hacker is arrested on an assault and battery charge involving Scouts at a campout. The case was eventually dismissed by a judge.
Hired by the Indianapolis public school system to teach English.
Registers as assistant Scout master for another troop in Indianapolis. Leaves the troop after serving two years. It is unclear whether Hacker resigned or was forced out.
Becomes Scoutmaster of a third Indianapolis troop.
Forced to resign Scoutmaster position after other Scout leaders become suspicious. The Central Indiana Council places him on their "red flag" list and recommends to BSA that Hacker "not be allowed to register in the Boy Scouts of America at any time or any place." (See Exhibit 1 below)
Pleads guilty to sexually abusing a 13-year-old student at the Indianapolis junior high school where he taught. Given a one- to five-year suspended sentence and placed him on probation for two years under orders that he seek psychiatric treatment.
A Boy Scouts of America “confidential record sheet” dated June 8, 1970 recommends that he be placed permanently in the “ineligible volunteer file.” (See Exhibit 2 below)
Moves to the Chicago area and is hired by CPS as a teacher
Volunteers as Scoutmaster of a northwest suburban troop by changing the initial of his middle name. After learning of his arrest in Indiana, local executives remove Hacker from Scouting capacities and "seek additional information or guidance" from BSA. (See Exhibit 3 below)
Oct. - Arrested and pleads guilty to a misdemeanor offense of taking “indecent liberties” with a boy from Mount Prospect. Received a year of court supervision
Hired to direct the Oak Lawn Park District’s summer day camp program.
July 4 - arrested by Oak Lawn Police for allegedly pulling a boy’s pants down. Sentenced to supervision.
Resigns under duress from park district job after allegations of abuse surface from boys Hacker took on an overnight camping trip. Parents decline to press charges wishing to spare their children from having to testify.
Briefly becomes president of Westside Baseball of Oak Lawn
Hired as a program director by the Burbank Park District.
Hired as a teacher at Most Holy Redeemer Catholic School in Evergreen Park.
Forced to resign from Most Holy Redeemer over allegations that he forced a pupil to stay after school and drop his pants. Hacker warned by Archdiocese to not “present your credentials to any Catholic school.”
Hired full-time by Burbank Park District as Recreational Director. Hacker would later be named Park District Director
Hacker begins his association with Boy Scouts' Chicago Area Council. Serves as Committee Chairman and Scout Master of Troop 1600, a troop made up of boys from Oak Lawn and Burbank which meets at St. Louis de Montfort Church in Oak Lawn.
Oct. - Questioned by police when abuse allegations of Troop 1600 members first surface.
Oct. 22 - resigned abruptly as Scout Master citing a work promotion and “some personal family situations.”
Jan. - Hacker is accused of stealing $575 from a park district safe. Police open an investigation. Suspicions become aroused when Hacker asks police not to conduct background checks on employees.
Jan. 13 - Resigns as director of the Burbank Park District.
Feb. 2 - Parents of two Scouts tell Burbank police that Hacker abused their sons.
State's attorney's office forms a "mass molestation task force" composed of Burbank police, Oak Lawn police, Illinois State Police and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
Feb. 10 - Indicted for sexually abusing three Scouts ages 11 and 12 on campouts on the grounds of Burbank's Reavis High School. The indictment eventually grows to include a dozen boys, most of them Scouts. The crimes were alleged to occur between 1984 and 1988.
Apr. 15 - An investigation by the Illinois Division of Children and Family Services finds that Hacker sexually abused 34 victims.
Nov. 6 - Hacker’s trial begins in the courtroom of Judge Lester McCurrie at the Bridgeview courthouse. Hacker’s attorney Elliot Price tells a the jury that his client should be found insane. Price says Hacker is a "classic pedophile and sick even beyond that" and was "totally out of control that he couldn't keep his hands off young children."
Nov. 15 - Found guilty on two counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault by a 10-man, 2-woman jury.
Dec. 13 - Sentenced to 100 years in prison (two consecutive 50-year prison terms) by Judge McCurrie who says society must be protected from people like Hacker (See Exhibit 4 below). A contrite Hacker, says he accepts "responsibility for the damage I have caused. No one can undo the damage to society, the young men, their family, my family. Only God can repair the damage, and I pray every day."
The mother of one of Hacker’s victims files a lawsuit against Boy Scouts of America alleging negligence for their failure to uncover past sex crimes committed by the leader. The suit also names the Burbank Park District for allegedly failing to conduct sufficient character and background checks of Hacker.
An anonymous Illinois man who resided in Burbank as a youth brings suit against Hacker, the Boy Scouts of America, and the Chicago Area Council for $50 million. The man claims memories resurfaced of Hacker abusing him when he was a10-year-old Boy Scout. (See Exhibit 5 below)
Feb. - Four men listed as “John Doe” file lawsuits against Hacker saying they were molested by him as children. One of the lawsuits names the Burbank Park District and 3 of the lawsuits name Chicago Public Schools as defendants.
Aug. - Sixteen former Scouts join a lawsuit against Hacker, the Boy Scouts of America and the Chicago Area Council. The plaintiffs allege that the Boy Scouts failed to protect them from Hacker.