The coordinator of a United Airlines-funded program for disadvantaged students sodomized young men and videotaped the acts – until one of his victims shot him to death, 13 John Does claim in lawsuits against United.
Thirteen John Does sued United Continental Holdings, United Airlines, United Airlines Foundation, and CEO Gerald Greenwald in separate lawsuits in Cook County Court.
A similar complaint was filed in April by seven anonymous men.
Plaintiffs were participants in the United Airlines Believers Program for disadvantaged youth, run by Marvin Lovett at James Weldon Johnson Elementary School in Chicago, according to the complaint.
“On or about the year 1996, at least two parents expressed concern to [United Airlines employee Eileen] Sweeney about Lovett’s interactions with the programs student participants,” the complaint states.
Sweeney is not a party to the lawsuit.
It continues: “Despite these complaints, no action was taken to investigate, monitor, limit, or control [alleged molester Marvin] Lovett in his interactions with the program’s student participants.
“In April of 2000, Lovett was shot and killed by one of the program’s student participants and a longtime victim of Lovett’s sexual abuse.
“During the investigation of Lovett’s death, the police found 140 videotapes of Lovett engaged in sexual acts with minors, including some of the plaintiffs,” according to John Doe No. 2’s complaint.
Doe 2 says he was a sixth-grader when Lovett chose him to participate in the program.
“Lovett used his discretionary funds as the UAL project coordinator to give shoes, jackets, and cash to John Doe No. 2 so that he would participate in, and remain silent about, the sexual abuse,” the complaint states.
“Lovett sexually abused John Doe No. 2 multiple times a week from 1996 until 2000.
“These repeated acts of sexual abuse by Lovett included forcing John Doe No. 2 to perform and receive oral and anal sex.
“The acts of sexual abuse perpetrated on John Doe No. 2 by Lovett physically took place at the James Weldon Johnson Elementary School, during overnight camping trips and at Lovett’s home before, during and after program activities.
“John Doe No. 2 was questioned as a suspect in Lovett’s death because he was depicted in some of the videotapes found in Lovett’s possession.
“Prior to this questioning, John Doe No. 2 did not know that the abuse was videotaped.”
Each man seeks more than $50,000 in damages for negligence.
They are represented by Lyndsay Markley.