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  Loyola Abuse Victim Speaks

By Ken Goze
Wilmette Life [Illinois]
Downloaded September 18, 2003

In the nearly 35 years since "John Doe 84" had left his first high school in Wilmette, he never fully came to terms with the sexual abuse he said he suffered at the hands of a priest at the school.

But he took some consolation in the assumption that the man had been removed from ministry, the action his superiors implied they would take when he first laid out his allegations in 1969.

When more recent troubles in his life prompted him to follow up with the priest's fate about a year ago, he was shocked to learn that the man who abused him almost daily for a year and a half was reaching the end of an apparently unbroken career and had made a name for himself as a spiritual leader and retreat master for Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity.

Doe, now a 49-year-old Arizona man, is looking to the courts to find justice he said was denied to him and other potential victims over the years. The unnamed plaintiff on Aug. 21 filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court alleging that the Rev. Donald McGuire repeatedly molested him at Loyola Academy in 1968 and part of 1969.

"When I walked out of Loyola Academy, the information given to me was they were going to take care of this and do what was right. I was informed I was going to be attending St. Ignatius," he said.

"They didn't do anything about it. To me, it's clear all they did was separate the two of us. I found that he was still in active ministry as a retreat master for Mother Theresa and he was giving retreats to kids. My thought was that scared the life out of me," Doe said in an interview arranged by his attorney Tuesday.It was the first time he has spoken publicly since filing the lawsuit, although he has not chosen to reveal his full name.

Doe said he was singled out for special attention by McGuire soon after arriving his freshman year. The Jesuit taught Greek and the classics of the ancient world and also worked as a guidance counselor. He told Doe's family that the boy needed extensive intervention for personal problems and sagging grades.

"What he did was he decided I was a very troubled person and I needed assistance. He told my father and said we're going to help him. What he did was he told my father that if I didn't stay at Loyola Academy, that I would run away," Doe said.

Doe said his father was then trying to raise other siblings nearly eight years after their mother had died.

More than just paying extra attention to him at school, McGuire arranged for a nearly full-time boarding situation in which Doe would spend his nights in a counseling office at the school.

In fact, Doe said he spent his nights in McGuire's room at the rectory.

"He tried very much to keep this a secret. I was trained to sneak around. I was given a master key that opened every room in the school and I was trained to watch out for specific priests," Doe said.

Doe said the arrangement was enforced with a combination of intimidation, affection and reassurance.

"He would run you on a roller coaster of fear and then love. His way of pulling you in was if somebody scared you to death and then came back with love, you're so relieved that you're not in fear any longer," Doe said.

Based on his own academic abilities, Doe said he had no place among the honors-level students in McGuire's Greek classes, but the priest made sure his grades didn't flag. Often times, that involved obtaining exams from other classes and coaching him on the answers in advance, he said.

After several attempts to run away, he finally did in 1969, and wound up seeking help from a priest at his former grade school parish.

"I didn't know where else to turn. I told him what was happening. He called my father and he called the Jesuits," Doe said.

That lead to a meeting with school administrators which resulted in a recommendation that he switch schools.

Doe said no one confronted McGuire while he was in the room. He was not told specifically that he would be removed from service, but they did assure him they would take care of the matter, he said.

He and his attorney, Marc Pearlman, now believe McGuire remained at the school until 1972. Now 73 and living in the Chicago area, McGuire has been suspended from conducting public ministry or administering the sacraments pending an investigation, according to his superiors.

According to Doe and some current Web sites, McGuire in recent years had become a renowned leader of retreats around the country, focusing on Jesuit spiritual exercises. Some sites still offer audiobooks he produced.

Doe said he briefly attended Loyola University after graduating from St. Ignatius, but dropped out after running into McGuire on that campus.

"For three years, I didn't do anything. I went back and got a degree and job. I have a family. I have children and I've been married to the same woman for 20 years. She just found out about this about two weeks before the letter was sent to the Jesuits.

I had been hiding this all these years," Doe said.Pearlman said his client had hoped to get some answers and action without a lawsuit, noting that Doe's identity and allegations were detailed in a letter to the Jesuits weeks before a lawsuit was filed. That letter apparently lead to McGuire's suspension, but Pearlman said he and his client did not get any direct response.

"If somebody picked up the phone. If we had received such a call, John Doe would not have initiated this lawsuit," Pearlman said.

Doe said he was happy to see that McGuire was removed from ministry and said prevention is his main priority with the lawsuit.

"What I'm looking at is everyone who can help me stop him and others from doing this. Making sure the next person is safe is all this is about. I hope that's what people get out of this," he said.

In response to the lawsuit, Loyola Academy's president, the Rev. Theodore G. Munz, sent a letter to parents and alumni which stated, among other things, that more safeguards are now in place.

"First and most importantly, let me state that the Loyola Academy community abhors the very idea of predatory sexual behavior in any form and has built a culture and an environment where your children are safe and protected," Munz wrote.

He said there are multiple confidential opportunities for students to express concerns and procedures to handle formal complaints of faculty or staff misconduct. Munz said current Jesuit training addresses issues of sexual misconduct and appropriate boundaries in dealing with young people.

 
 

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