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Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed In Death Of Woman Killed By Falling Stone From Church

By Chuck Sudo in News on Sep 9, 2014 4:00PM

Sarah Bean

The boyfriend of a woman who was killed last week when a piece of a stone gargoyle fell from a landmark church and hit her on the head has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the church. Lance Johnson filed the lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court Monday on behalf of Sarah Bean against Second Presbyterian Church, claiming the church was negligent in its ownership of the building by allowing the exterior wall to “exist in a dangerous and unrepaired condition.” The Presbytery of Chicago was also named as a defendant.

Johnson and Bean were walking to lunch in the South Loop Sept. 4 when a piece of decorative metal came loose from the church’s outside wall, which fell and knocked off the chunk of stone from a gargoyle. That chunk of stone was what killed Bean instantly.

Johnson’s suit lists him and his 9-year-old son with Bean as plaintiffs. He is seeking more than $100,000 in damages. Second Presbyterian earned National Landmark status last year for its interior design, specifically its stained glass and Arts and Crafts design. The church’s exterior, however, had failed several inspections, the most recent in 2011. The Tribune notes Second Presbyterian passed inspections in 2012 and last year, but had not been inspected this year.

Second Presbyterian has a statement on its website that reads:

The Session and Congregation of Second Presbyterian Church express our deep sorrow at the death of Sarah Bean, who died tragically as a result of an incident that occurred in front of the church at noon on Thursday. We send our heartfelt sympathy and continual prayers for her family and friends.