Judge Cuts Priest No Slack

By Dan Rozek and Stefano Esposito
Chicago Sun-Times
January 24, 2006

A priest accused of molesting two boys at a parish on Chicago's West Side appeared for the first time Monday in an open courtroom, but he said nothing, letting his attorney do the talking.

As soon as the brief hearing ended, Daniel McCormack, 37, left the 26th and California courthouse, walking briskly past a cluster of reporters, before getting into a car waiting at the bottom of the courthouse steps.

McCormack -- dressed neatly in navy pants, a blue shirt and tie and a short gray jacket -- stood in court beside his attorney, Patrick Reardon, who asked Judge Douglas Simpson to modify the conditions of McCormack's pretrial release so that the priest could have contact with his nieces and nephews. Simpson refused.

Last week, another judge set bail at $200,000 for McCormack and ordered that he have no contact with the victims, their families or anyone under the age of 18.

Arrested last week

McCormack has a large family, Reardon explained later on the steps of the 26th and California courthouse. "I wouldn't want him to accidentally violate the bond [conditions]," he said.

McCormack, pastor of St. Agatha Catholic parish and a teacher and basketball coach at Our Lady of the Westside School, was arrested last week at his brother's home in Orland Hills. McCormack is accused of molesting one boy two or three times a month between September 2001 and January 2005. He allegedly fondled another boy twice in December 2003. The incidents took place in the rectory next to the church, prosecutors say.

McCormack's arrest marks the first time in more than a dozen years that prosecutors have brought criminal abuse charges against a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago.


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