Sex Charges Aired
By Jason George and Manya A. Brachear
May 7, 2006
Rev. Daniel J. McCormack repeatedly fondled an 11-year-old boy while he was supposed to be monitored, according to the newest allegations of sexual abuse involving the Catholic priest.
Also, unlike earlier sex-abuse claims against McCormack that were alleged to have occurred at St. Agatha Catholic Church on the West Side and its adjacent school, details read in Cook County Bond Court Saturday revealed an alleged daily pattern of abuse at another Catholic school campus.
The two new counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involve the 11-year-old's alleged abuse at Our Lady of the Westside School, Presentation Campus, and the one-time alleged abuse of a 10-year-old boy inside the rectory of St. Agatha.
McCormack pleaded not guilty in March to abusing three other boys at St. Agatha from September 2001 to January 2005.
The alleged abuse of the 11-year-old occurred at the campus at 3900 W. Lexington St., Chicago, said Assistant Cook County State's Atty. Kathleen Muldoon.
Starting in September 2005 and lasting for nearly five months, the alleged abuse "occurred in a classroom on almost a daily basis," Muldoon said. If true, the alleged fondling began less than a month after Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago officials appointed a fellow priest to monitor McCormack, and ended five days before he was first arrested Jan. 20, accused of abusing two other boys.
Diocese officials Saturday said they did not know what role McCormack had at the Presentation Campus. In addition to his duties as St. Agatha pastor, McCormack was a teacher and basketball coach at Our Lady of the Westside's other campus at St. Agatha, about 1 1/2 miles away.
In March, outside auditors criticized local Catholic Church officials' handling of sex-abuse allegations against McCormack and called the monitoring of him inadequate--a charge the archdiocese again agreed with Saturday.
"He wasn't supposed to be with children. Obviously we have subsequently found there was a problem with our monitoring program and we acknowledged it and we're doing our best to rectify it," said Jim Dwyer, archdiocese spokesman.
"We continue to encourage people to come forward, not only about McCormack," he said.
McCormack turned himself in to authorities Friday night, and his bail was set at $200,000 Saturday, bringing his total bail to $700,000. McCormack, 37, wearing a brown polo shirt, was released about 2 1/2 hours after appearing in court via closed-circuit TV. He and his attorney, Patrick Reardon, both declined to comment outside the courtroom.
Muldoon asserted in court that on one occasion, between August 2003 and June 2004, McCormack touched the 10-year-old 4th-grader inappropriately through his clothing. Although the alleged abuse is said to have occurred at the St. Agatha rectory, the boy was a student at the Presentation Campus and played on the basketball team. He reported the charges to a school counselor in March, Muldoon said.
McCormack is accused of abusing the 11-year-old by giving him hugs, then reaching into his clothing. Muldoon said the boy told his parents about the abuse recently.
Conviction on each count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse carries a penalty ranging from probation to 7 years in prison.
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