|In Deal, McCormack to Plead Guilty
Sex Abuse Case | Priest Expected to Get 5-Year Term
By Eric Herman
Chicago Sun-Times [Chicago IL]
June 30, 2007
The Rev. Daniel McCormack, whose alleged abuse of boys rocked the Archdiocese of Chicago, is expected to plead guilty to five felonies Monday, sources said.
Under the terms of the deal, McCormack, 38, will plead guilty to five counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and likely receive a five-year prison term, the sources said. The plea agreement must be approved by Judge Thomas Sumner, who has indicated he will accept it, according to sources.
McCormack could have faced up to seven years in prison. With credit for good behavior, McCormack could serve as little as 2½ years.
"I don't think it's an overly harsh sentence, but I don't think it's a laydown," said Steve Greenberg, a defense lawyer not involved in the case. "Two years for this guy in jail is not going to be easy.
"They don't want to put the kids through the trauma of a trial."
An attorney for McCormack declined to comment, as did prosecutors handling the case. Negotiations have been going on since March.
McCormack was charged in January 2006 with abusing boys at St. Agatha Parish and Our Lady of the Westside School. The priest taught and coached basketball.
At first, the allegations concerned two victims, ages 8 and 9. Three more victims came forward, leading to additional charges. While the archdiocese said it was aware of a dozen or more allegations, prosecutors have not found sufficient evidence to bring further charges.
The case unleashed a barrage of criticism at Cardinal Francis George, including calls for his resignation. The scandal gained force after it emerged that the archdiocese knew of allegations against McCormack and had assigned a church official to monitor him. The abuse allegedly continued.
McCormack allegedly abused at least two of the victims inside the rectory of St. Agatha. The archdiocese removed him from the parish after he was charged.
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