Chicago Priest Charged with Sexual Abuse|
McCormack Appears in Court
By Charles Thomas
January 23, 2006
January 23, 2006 (CHICAGO) - A Chicago priest who is accused of molesting two boys appeared in court Monday. Father Daniel McCormack, who once spoke out against the sex scandal in the Roman Catholic Church, is now under scrutiny himself.
The vast majority of the sexual abuse cases in the Chicago Archdiocese have involved allegations against priests going back decades. The charges against the Reverend Dan McCormack allege incidents within the past five years -- meaning a full-fledged criminal investigation is underway.
Accompanied by family members, the 37-year-old Catholic priest arrived at the criminal courts building Monday morning to make his second appearance on the two charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. McCormack was freed Saturday after posting 10-percent of his $200,000 bond. Judge Douglas Simpson continued the case until February 10 when McCormack's private attorney will begin fighting the accusations.
"The defendant says he's innocent. He's presumed to be innocent. Please take that presumption," said Patrick Reardon, defense attorney.
McCormack -- the pastor of St. Agatha's Church on the West Side -- is accused of sexually abusing two boys who went to the parish school -- a now 11-year-old who attended in 2003 and a now 13-year-old who went to St. Agatha's between 2001 and 2005. Prosecutors allege many of the incidents occurred after mass inside the church's rectory. Parishioners interviewed Sunday by ABC 7 could not believe the allegations.
"He is a good man. That's all I've got to say and I don't believe the allegations made against him," said one parishioner.
McCormack grew up on Chicago's Southwest Side in St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish. He attended Loyola University and St. Mary of the Lake Mundelein Seminary where he received a master's degree in divinity.
Previously, he was assigned to St. Ailbe, St. Martin De Porres, Our Lady of Peace and Old St. James parishes before his appointment to St. Agatha's in 2000.
On its website, Chicago's Archdiocese is asking anyone with additional information concerning McCormack to contact them or to call the authorities directly.
An archdiocese spokesman also says that in cases such as this one involving young victims where the statute of limitations has not expired, the Catholic Church only turns over what information it gathers to authorities. They leave the investigative work to the criminal justice professionals.
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