Molestation Investigations May Be Revised

Associated Press, carried in The New York Times
February 3, 2006

CHICAGO (AP) -- The leader of Chicago's Roman Catholic archdiocese vowed to revise a molestation investigation process that "wasn't adequate," saying he should have removed a priest charged with abusing three boys much sooner.

Cardinal Francis George indicated Thursday the archdiocese will announce changes as early as next week to remove priests immediately after allegations are made. Under the current policy, allegations are investigated before priests can be removed.

George said he wants to consult with the state Department of Children and Family Services on how to make sure communities are notified of suspended priests.

"I thought that we had the process ... to take care of these things," he said. "Now it turns out it wasn't adequate, that I wasn't adequate."

George's announcement came at a news conference hours after the Rev. Daniel McCormack was released on $300,000 bond. McCormack, 37, was charged last month with two counts of aggravated sexual abuse and was charged Wednesday with a third count.

After Thursday's hearing, his bond totals $500,000, which was paid by family members.

The case has drawn criticism for the archdiocese because McCormack was not removed from public ministry until months after allegations against him surfaced.

"I should have found some way to take him out (sooner)," George said. "I wasn't vigilant enough in that case. I was too used to following the process."

Before his release, McCormack stood silently before a Cook County judge as his attorney proclaimed his innocence.

The nation's third-largest Catholic archdiocese has said it is investigating the allegations against McCormack, who was removed from public ministry Jan. 21, the day he was charged with molesting the first two boys.

The archdiocese has acknowledged that one of the charges stems from an allegation that was first made in August.

The latest charge against McCormack involve an 11-year-old boy who was not a parishioner at the church where McCormack served as pastor, prosecutor Kathleen Muldoon said.

Associated Press Writer F.N. D'Alessio contributed to this report.


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