Hearing Date Set for Priest Accused of Sexual Abuse

By Bernie Tafoya and Mary France
January 23, 2006

CHICAGO (WBBM Newsradio 780) -- A judge set a preliminary hearing date of Feb. 10 for a priest charged with two counts of aggreviated criminal sexual abuse.

Fr. Daniel McCormack didn't speak to reporters and his attorney, Patrick Reardon, said very little except that he would fight the charges.

McCormack's attorney also asked to tried to extend the West Side priest's condition of bond so that he can spend time with family members under the age of 18. The judge denied the request.

The archdiocese of Chicago says sexual molestation allegations first began to surface late last summer or early in the fall against McCormack, 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 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.

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 and that the 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 principal Fr. 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 on 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 Fr. McCormack is being housed in a setting away from children.


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