Prosecutors Charge Priest with Sexual Abuse

By Mike Flannery
January 22, 2006

(CBS) CHICAGO A Cook County judge set bond at $200,000 Saturday for a Roman Catholic priest in the alleged sexual abuse of two boys.

Cook County state's attorney's office spokesman John Gorman says Daniel McCormack, 37, was charged with two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

CBS 2's Mike Flannery reports that Central Bond Court (Br. 1) Judge Colleen Hyland set the bond for McCormack on closed-circuit television on Saturday.

Gorman says the priest allegedly assaulted the two children at St. Agatha Church, at 3147 W. Douglas Blvd. on the city's West Side.

At St. Agatha's parish, McCormack was described as a "straight-arrow, compassionate conservative."

But outside court, Cook County Assistant State's Atty. Kathleen Muldoon said: "This was ongoing over a long period of time, from September 2001 to January 2005. This victim was between... 9 years old to 12 years old."

McCormack was arrested on Friday night in Orland Hills. Prosecutors alleged that he fondled one of the victims, an 8-year-old boy, on two occasions in December 2003, Gorman said. Prosecutors claimed McCormack also instructed the boy not to tell anyone and gave him gifts.

Prosecutors claimed further that from September 2001 through January 2005, McCormack also abused another boy who was between the ages of 9 and 12 at the time. Gorman said McCormack, who was the boy's basketball coach, abused the boy in the rectory and various rooms in the church.

Beryl Guy, a pastoral associate at St. Agatha's, said: "He's just been so devoted to the children and the adults and the staff of Lawndale. I'm just flabbergasted. I don't know how to think."

After recalling how McCormack helped him find a job, St. Agatha's parishioner Montie Bledsoe said he could not believe the charges against the priest.

"I wouldn't believe it. He's not the type of person to do that," McCormack said.

Dianne Dunagan, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Chicago, says church officials received information about an allegation against McCormack and reported the information to authorities. McCormack has been "temporarily removed" and has not been near the parish for some time, she said.

"The archdiocese is cooperating fully in this matter," said Dunagan, who declined to provide more details.

As part of the conditions of McCormack's bond, he was forbidden from having contact with the victims and their families and anyone under the age of 18. If convicted, McCormack could face up to seven years in prison, Gorman said.


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