Ex-Priest's Sentence Upheld

Daily Southtown [Illinois]
February 14, 2006


Crash puts power out

A motorist who suffered an apparent medical emergency crashed into a lightpole, temporarily cutting power and snarling traffic for about an hour Sunday.

The 45-year-old driver was traveling south on Harlem Avenue near 174th Street when he had some sort of attack and slammed into a pole, Tinley Park police said.

The vehicle "sheered the pole in half," temporarily knocking out power to the surrounding area, including four traffic intersections, Sgt. T.J. Grady said.

The driver suffered minor injuries in the crash. Power was restored after crews removed the downed pole.

William Lee


Tax forum planned

Commissioner Larry R. Rogers Jr., of the Cook County Board of Review, will hold a forum for Calumet Township property owners at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 22 at the Calumet Township Senior Citizen Center, 12633 S. Ashland Ave., Calumet Park.

The forum will focus on how owners may go about appealing property tax assessments.

For more information, call Rogers' office at (312) 603-5540.


Ex-priest's sentence upheld

A federal appeals court has upheld a 20-year prison sentence on child pornography charges for an admitted pedophile and former Roman Catholic priest who once ministered in Calumet City.

Vincent McCaffrey has admitted in court he had sexual contact on more than 100 instances with about a dozen boys while serving as a priest — as well as hundreds of other contacts with dozens of other children during his life outside the priesthood.

McCaffrey, 53, was ordained in 1978 and served in the Chicago archdiocese until he was removed amid abuse allegations in 1993. He was assigned to several parishes, including St. Victor in Calumet City and St. Joseph the Worker on Chicago's South Side.

He was arrested in 2002 on charges he possessed more than 4,000 images of child pornography and was sentenced to 20 years after pleading guilty. The harsh sentence was based in part on the increased likelihood McCaffrey would reoffend. In a ruling released Monday, a three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled the sentence was appropriate under federal law.

Chris Hack

Attorneys call for warrants

Democratic and Republican attorneys overwhelmingly approved a resolution Monday urging President Bush to seek approval behind the closed doors of a courtroom before engaging in any more eavesdropping on international telephone calls with one end in the United States.

Miami federal prosecutor Neal Sonnett said, "We cannot allow the constitution and our rights to become victims in the fight against terrorism."

Sonnett chaired a committee that drafted the resolution, which was overwhelmingly passed Monday by American Bar Association members at their midyear meeting in Chicago. Former FBI Director William Sessions also sat on the committee.

The attorneys said that, contrary to arguments by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Bush does not have legal authority to ignore the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and eavesdrop on conversations without seeking approval of the secret courts set up by the act.

Gonzales told a congressional panel the act does not allow the government the "nimbleness" to respond to terror threats. If that's the case, Gonzales should ask Congress to amend the act as it already has done four times since 2001, Sonnett said.

STNG News Service

Laski plea likely to change

A week after Jim Laski resigned as Chicago city clerk, he pleaded innocent Monday to charges that he took $50,000 in bribes to steer trucking business to a lifelong friend and encouraged witnesses to lie about it.

But the plea apparently will be as fleeting as Laski's vow to stay on the job.

Laski, 52, plans to spend the next month hammering out a deal with the government, then change his plea to guilty, his attorney said.

"We do not have a plea agreement as of yet. We are pursuing one. ... I expect this will happen within the next four to five weeks at the longest," Laski's attorney Jeffrey Steinback said.

Still unclear is whether the agreement will include cooperation with federal prosecutors and, if so, to what extent.

STNG News Service


No. 2 crash site right here

The intersection of 127th Street and Cicero Avenue ranked second in the state for crashes in 2004, the most recent state figures show.

The Alsip intersection saw 85 crashes in 2004, grabbing the No. 2 spot for the second year in a row, the Illinois Department of Transportation reported.

The intersection of Higgins and Roselle roads in Hoffman Estates saw the most crashes in 2004 with 89, IDOT said.

Although collisions at these crossings were frequent, injuries and fatalities usually weren't, police and IDOT said.

The Alsip junction has been a staple of top-10 crash lists for years, thanks to its proximity to the Tri-State Tollway, police said. The number of crashes has dropped dramatically since the early 1990s, when the count was pushing 170.

STNG News Service


Party-givers still not named

The park district commissioner who filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Harvey Park District last week said he wasn't satisfied with the internal investigation that found strippers were indeed at a Super Bowl party.

Keith Price, who filed the request, said he would push to receive documents to find out who approved the Feb. 5 party at the Gloria J. Taylor Banquet Hall & Recreation Center.

Park district officials recently confirmed that strippers were at the party, where a Daily Southtown reporter and photographer spotted them with several nearby officers wearing badges.

Park district board president Julius Patterson has declined to release the names of those who held the party.

The debate is expected to continue at a park district board meeting scheduled for Thursday.

William Lee


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