Judge: Convicted Abusive Priest Can Stay Mum during Appeals
By Andrew Wang
October 10, 2006
Elkhorn, Wis. -- A Walworth County judge ruled Tuesday that a Chicago Jesuit priest found guilty this year of molesting two boys in the 1960s will not be required to discuss his sexual history with corrections authorities as part of his treatment as a sex offender.
Attorneys for Rev. Donald J. McGuire, 76, who have said they intend to appeal his February conviction on five counts of indecent behavior with a child, argued that statements made during lie-detector tests and sex-offender treatment programs could be used against their client in a retrial.
"Our concern is that ... the father's statements could be used in violation of his 5th Amendment rights against him," said Larry Steen of Elkhorn, one of three attorneys representing McGuire at the hearing.
McGuire, who was wheeled into court in a wheelchair, dressed in a navy blue jumpsuit and orange jail slippers, was sentenced in July to two concurrent 7-year prison terms and three concurrent 20-year probation terms. The prison term was postponed, pending his appeal of the verdict, but the probation started immediately.
Victims advocates at the hearing criticized the decision.
"What we have now is an untreated sex offender," said Peter Isley, Midwest director for the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests. "First he caught a break when he didn't have to go to prison. Now ... he doesn't have to go to treatment."
McGuire was jailed Sept. 25 for refusing to submit to lie-detector tests and other treatment in which he would have had to admit abusing children. It was the second time he was put behind bars for violating his probation.
On Aug. 30, McGuire received permission from his probation officer to stay in Evanston one night on the condition he register with the local police department. But he never told police he was in Evanston. He spent three days in Walworth County Jail for that violation.
In Tuesday's hearing, McGuire's lawyers told Judge James Carlson that he had refused to take the tests on his lawyers' advice.
They requested that his probation be stayed on that basis.
But District Atty. Phillip Koss said a Wisconsin legal precedent already made admission of criminal sex acts by convicted offenders in treatment inadmissible in future criminal proceedings.
Carlson ruled that McGuire would remain on probation but would not have to discuss his sexual history.
John Dipko, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, said the department will review the court's ruling over the next few days to determine its effect on McGuire's probation, but officials are still moving to revoke his probation on the basis of the two recent violations.
A hearing on his probation status has not been scheduled, Dipko said.
McGuire taught at Loyola Academy in Wilmette from 1966 to 1970 and later was spiritual director for Mother Teresa and her Missionaries of Charity.
The two accusers said McGuire molested them during retreats in the Lake Geneva area in 1967 and 1968. They also alleged that he abused them at Loyola, but the statute of limitations in Illinois had run out. McGuire was tried in Wisconsin because the state's statute of limitations does not apply to out-of-state residents.
One of McGuire's victims, Victor Bender, attended the hearing and said afterward that he is glad the priest is in jail.
Having McGuire free to prey on other young victims is like "putting a shark in a pool with minnows," Bender said. "He's right where he belongs."
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