CHICAGO (CN) - A prominent urban evangelist sexually abused boys in his ministry, spanking and sodomizing them in his home and giving them money for drugs from donations he'd collected from churches, five of his alleged victims claim in court.
Defendant Gordon McLean is an ordained clergyman who "has been an 'evangelist' for troubled teenagers who were members of inner city gangs in the Chicago and Northern Illinois area for decades," according to the lawsuit in Cook County Court.
It adds: "McLean was employed for decades by Youth for Christ, a national organization which includes Campus Life, City Life, and Juvenile Justice Mission."
McLean, however, is the only defendant.
From 1982 to 2008, McLean was director of the Juvenile Justice Ministry of Metro Chicago Youth for Christ, a position which "has given him liberal access to minors in various youth detention facilities in Northern Illinois," according to the lawsuit.
His position as an auxiliary chaplain for the Cook County Sheriff's Department also gave him access to children, the complaint states.
He has written books, helped produce at least four films about his ministry, and appeared on numerous Christian television programs to share the testimonies of troubled youths he has encountered in his work. But "on February 26, 2008, McLean was arrested by River Forest Police and charged with solicitation of a sex act," the complaint states.
McLean was 73 when he was arrested, according to contemporary news reports.
"On information and belief, the person McLean solicited sex from on February 26, 2008, which led to his arrest was an alleged male prostitute who had been sexually abused as a minor by McLean decades earlier," the complaint adds.
All five plaintiffs claim they were teenagers in Chicago gangs when they met McLean.
The lawsuit states: "McLean committed childhood sexual abuse and aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a minor in one or more of the following ways with each of the plaintiffs: asking if a certain minor inner-city gang member had been a 'bad boy,' receiving information that a certain inner-city gang member was 'a bad boy,' inviting that 'bad boy' to his residence, placing cologne on the hands of the 'bad boy,' instructing the 'bad boy' to remove his pants and lay across McLean's lap, speaking the 'bad boy's' naked buttocks, grinding his own genitals into the 'bad boy,' engaging in oral sex with the 'bad boy,' engaging in masturbation or himself and/or the 'bad boy,' engaging in anal sex with the 'bad boy,' giving the 'bad boy' some money to be used for drugs, keeping the 'bad boy' overnight on Saturday nights, taking the 'bad boy' to a suburban church with him on Sunday mornings, and introducing the 'bad boy' to the suburban church audience as a successful convert to the Lord Jesus Christ who had come to saving faith in the Lord through McLean's ministry efforts.
"McLean repeatedly used the inner-city gang members for promotional and fund raising efforts knowing that they were often still using drugs and not being honest in their 'testimonies.'"
The plaintiffs claim McLean them "hush money" to keep them from reporting him to police, and that the money came from donations to churches and his urban youth ministry.
They claim that staff members of Youth for Christ must have been aware of McLean's sexual abuse by 1998, after "observing at McLean's apartment young males partially undressed and sleeping on McLean's bed."
Each plaintiff claims his life has been "unalterably and severely damaged by the betrayal of this clergyman who gained their trust and devotion."
All five says they have filed a criminal complaint against McLean. Each seeks $50,000 in civil damages.
They are represented by
The men are represented by Steven Denny.
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