Sex Allegations against Priest Began Last Year
Archdiocese: Police Investigated Sex Abuse Claim but Did Not Make Case at Time

January 23, 2006 [Includes link to a video. Photos on the right are stills from that video.]

(AP) Chicago - (CBS) CHICAGO The Archdiocese of Chicago says sexual molestation allegations first began to surface late last summer or early fall against a West Side priest who was charged over the weekend.

Archdiocese spokeswoman Colleen Dolan said police and the Cook County State's Attorney's office investigated a sex abuse claim against Fr. Daniel McCormack a few months ago, but could not make a case at that time. She says the investigation continued. The State's Attorney's Office will not comment on that.

McCormack is scheduled for arraignment today. He was arrested Friday.

Daniel McCormack

The allegation, Dolan said, was made by a boy who is now 11 years old. Dolan said the boy's family had moved out of the parish but then back in. Allegations were made when the family returned. That boy alleges he was fondled twice in December 2003 after mass at St. Agatha's Church on the West Side.

Dolan said the other allegation came last week when an 8th grade boy told an assistant that McCormack had touched him inappropriately repeatedly over the course of three-and-a-half years. She says the school immediately notified the boy's parents and Chicago police.

Dolan said Our Lady of the West Side School has been training its students all this school year about signs of sex abuse, what to do about it and that students should tell an adult they trust. She said it appears that program may have fostered an environment in which the boys felt safe telling someone.

Dolan said McCormack is being housed in a setting away from children.

McCormack is one of only a handful of Catholic priests ever to face criminal abuse charges, even though dozens have been accused in a nationwide church scandal over the past several years.

It's a topic McCormack discussed in a 2002 interview he did for the Black Catholic Chicago Web site. In it, he's asked about the difficulty of being a priest in the present crisis. McCormack replied, "The Church is lead by the Spirit but run by sinful human beings. Sin will happen and that is reality. But how do we move from sin to redemption, sin to forgiveness?"

McCormack's bond was set at $200,000. He bonded out sometime during the last 24 hours, according to a bond clerk.


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