Allegations against Newly Charged Priest First Surfaced in August

Associated Press, carried in Belleville News-Democrat
January 24, 2006

CHICAGO - Archdiocese of Chicago officials say allegations first were made in August against a Roman Catholic priest charged last week with sexual abuse, but the initial accusations weren't enough to remove him from his parish.

The archdiocese instead assigned another priest to monitor the Rev. Daniel McCormack's contact with children while law enforcement authorities investigated.

McCormack was suspended and removed from St. Agatha Church last week following separate allegations by a second child, said archdiocese spokeswoman Colleen Dolan. He was charged Saturday with two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

Archdiocese Chancellor James Lago said officials did not have enough information in August to take further action.

Authorities "indicated to us that they were doing an investigation," Lago told the Chicago Tribune. "We were trying to get specific information (about the allegations) but we had none when we restricted his duties."

Church guidelines say the archdiocese could have removed McCormack from ministry while the case was investigated, but Lago said church officials decided that wasn't necessary. The guidelines also offer the option of a monitor to limit an accused priest's contact with children.

Dolan said church officials followed procedure for handling allegations. After the accusation in August, the archdiocese's Office of Professional Responsibility referred the allegation to the Independent Review Board, she said. The board was created after the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops set new guidelines for dealing with sexual abuse by priests in 2002.


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